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'Becoming complacent is my only worry' - David Drumm's 2005 take on Anglo

Three years before the bank guarantee, the then-CEO was talking up Anglo’s hiring policy and describing the outlook for Ireland as ‘very positive indeed’.

David Drumm (L) pictured at the launch of Anglo's interim results in 2005
David Drumm (L) pictured at the launch of Anglo's interim results in 2005
Image: Photocall Ireland

DAVID DRUMM PAINTS a rosy picture of the future for Anglo Irish Bank in a 2005 interview that’s resurfaced today, saying the number one worry for him as CEO was ‘complacency’.

The former chief executive has been back in the headlines this week following the publication of the Anglo tapes by the Irish Independent.

In the latest recording of bank bosses 2008 conversations, Drumm can be heard telling another official “We need the f****** loans because we’re running out of money”.

The comment – made in the run up to the bank guarantee – is a million miles away from the kind of language he was using in an interview with The Wall Street Transcript just three years previously.

In a wide-ranging conversation, he told the subscription-only publication that Anglo had no problem attracting ‘a wide and diversified funding base’, talked-up the potential for growth in the Irish economy and said that the bank’s hiring policy was one of its major assets.

David Drumm on managing talent:

For me, the job is to make sure the people are properly managed once they arrive, that people buy into the culture of performance and delivery for customers. The quality of our people, their professionalism and their attitude is key to us.

We don’t throw people at jobs. We hand pick them. People are the main ingredient in what we do. It is not a commodity business; it is a bespoke, hands-on, high value-added business.

You will have seen our tag line is ‘Experience the Difference’. What we are really talking about is experiencing our people.

On the skills the management team brings to the table:

One of the big strengths of the bank over the years has been bringing our people through.

Succession is a big issue for any organization, but particularly for a fast growing business like ours.

Accordingly a lot of time and effort goes into ensuring that we have got the right people in the right positions in the bank. I see that as a big part of my job.

On the Irish economy:

We are enjoying net immigration into Ireland to the tune of an estimated 80,000 this year and we have come a long way from when people were leaving our shores in the tens of thousands each year.

We enjoy full employment effectively at just around 4% and we are still creating jobs at a very impressive rate.

Domestic demand within the economy is strong on the back of the demographics, so the outlook for us in Ireland remains very positive indeed.

On what he tells potential investors:

I tell them about a bank like no other that has outperformed the market for several years.

I tell them about the simple business model as a focused niche player with a proven lending formula.

I tell them about 40% compound annual increase in profits over the last 10 years and about the enormous opportunity for organic growth in each of our key markets.

And what are you worried about?

Look, the only think I have to worry about is becoming complacent; we have been successful for a long time and it is very important that we never take it for granted.

We have got to get up every day and work as hard as we did the day before.

David Drumm resigned as Anglo CEO in December 2008. He is currently bidding to be declared bankrupt by the US courts.

Read: Where are the tapes from the other bailed-out banks? Kenny: ‘I dunno’

Read: Michael Noonan on the Anglo Tapes: ‘We could have done without them’

Read: This was the hold music at Anglo Irish Bank in 2008

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