Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024

Irish market needs to be more attractive for new lenders to enter – Central Bank of Ireland governor Philip Lane

The cleaning up of legacy debts and the maintenance of the financial crisis recovery here are preconditions for the entry of new lenders into the Irish market, Central Bank of Ireland governor Philip Lane has said.

Speaking at an event at the Dublin Chamber of Commerce this morning, Mr Lane said that the crash resulted in the exit of a number of banks from our market.

His comments follow remarks from European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi at the Oireachtas Finance Committee on Thursday.

Mr Draghi said that an effective monopoly in the banking market here is the reason mortgage costs are double the level elsewhere.

“The big limit here is the presence of a monopoly,” he said. “The answer there is (more) competition.”

The market is currently dominated by AIB and Bank of Ireland, which control 60pc of new mortgage lending.

At this morning’s event, Mr Lane also discussed the importance of the “thriving” enterprise sector to the country’s economic success.

Read more: ECB’s Draghi blames Irish bank monopoly for high mortgage costs

“The employment, investment and innovation decisions made by the over two hundred thousand private sector firms active in Ireland are critically important in determining national economic performance,” he said.

“In addition, the behaviour of firms also has a wider impact in terms of making progress in meeting the country’s social, environmental and regional objectives.”

He warned that while Ireland’s economy is in an expansion phase, it is volatile and open to impacts from potential Brexit scenarios, shifts in international trade or domestic policies.

New bank lending to SMEs outside of the financial and property-related sectors rose from €1.9bn in 2013 to €3.7bn in 2017

Mr Lane said that “while the availability and volume of SME finance have improved over the last five years, the cost of bank lending for smaller firms in Ireland remains high relative to peers elsewhere in the euro area”.

The new Central Bank Strategic Plan, which will be launched later today, was outlined at the event.

Five priorities for the Bank are identified in he plan: strengthening resilience; Brexit; strengthening consumer protection; engaging and influencing; and enhancing organisation capability.

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