Boucher Says Banks Should Never Again Threaten Irish State

Bank of Ireland Plc Chief Executive Officer Richie Boucher said the nation’s financial system should never again threaten the solvency of the state.

“The banking system must move from being a threat to the economy to being a support system for the economy,” Boucher said in a speech in Dublin today.

The state pledged 64 billion-euros ($87 billion) to rescue the nation’s banks after a real estate bubble, fueled by a credit frenzy, burst in 2008. Irish banks’ loan books grew more than 20 percent a year on average from 2003 to 2006 as the bubble neared its peak, according to a government-commissioned report into the banking crisis, published in 2010.

“I think obviously everyone does things to different degrees,” Boucher, 55, said in response to a question at a panel discussion after his speech. “But when there’s a wild party even the good girls get into trouble.”

Irish taxpayers have recouped more than the 4.8 billion euro cost of rescuing Bank of Ireland since 2009. The government has collected 5.9 billion euros from the lender, including fees for a banking guarantee over the period. It holds a 14 percent stake in the lender.

The bank’s shares have soared 126 percent in the past year to 30.3 euro cents, valuing the bank at 9.9 billion euros.

“The taxpayers have a further potential upside which is absolutely right and appropriate,” Boucher said.

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