Bankers No Longer Embarrassed to Work at AIB, CEO Byrne Says

Allied Irish Banks Plc staff no longer seek to hide the fact they work at the lender, Chief Executive Officer Bernard Byrne said, reiterating that taxpayers are on track to be fully repaid for rescuing it.

After the bank needed a 21 billion euro ($22.8 billion) bailout during the nation’s financial crisis, workers would occasionally ask cabs to ferry them to a cafe close to its headquarters rather than admit to working at the organization, Byrne said.

“We call it the coffee shop moment,” Byrne said on an analysts’ call on Thursday in Dublin. “Many years ago, people really didn’t want to work in AIB.”

AIB posted a 1.9 billion euro pre-tax profit last year, and Ireland’s outgoing Finance Minister, Michael Noonan, has said he aims to sell a 25 percent stake in the bank later this year. In December, AIB repaid an initial 1.6 billion euro to the state, about five years after the nation’s entire domestic banking system had to be bailed out.

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