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Irish banks 'on the road to recovery'


The Irish minister for finance Michael Noonan has suggested the country's prospects are good following the recently-concluded asset review tests on national banks, with Bank of Ireland and AIB both revealing themselves to be well capitalised.

Speaking before a conference on the future of banking in Europe hosted by the Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin, Mr Noonan said: "We always expected that some of the capital buffers that we put in place two years ago would be eaten away. Debt was crystallised and that has happened."

The Bank of Ireland has extrapolated provisions on its Republic of Ireland mortgage book, reports the Irish Times.

Although the country has endured a difficult time of late following the economic crash, recent signs have suggested its financial services industry, particularly in the capital, is set to regain growth and contribute strongly to the Irish recovery.

German organisation Deutsche Bank has announced plans to create around 700 jobs in Dublin by launching a regional hub in the city, while it is also expected to develop a centre of excellence aimed at attracting Irish graduates to work in the sector.

In his conference speech, Mr Noonan expressed optimism for the future, with Ireland set to finally exit its EU-International Monetary Fund bailout on December 15th.

"Recent indicators are showing the continuation of the recovery. Employment grew robustly at over three per cent year-on-year in Q3, property prices have begun to grow again and household debt (although high) is on a downward trajectory," declared the finance minister.

Confidence in Irish banks is rising as they become less reliant on external funding, while small to medium-sized enterprises should increasingly find it easier to gain the cash they need from these institutions, concluded Mr Noonan.

European Central Bank vice-president Vítor Constancio and Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan will also be among the speakers at the annual conference, which is to offer insight into the current opinions of major banking figures.

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