Former CEO Mike Aynsley’s reaction to the Anglo Irish Bank tapes

The Anglo Irish Bank tapes are fairly shocking. Leading executives at the bank were caught on taped conversations discussing their rather underhand tactics for disguising their actions, leading to a public outcry.

Mike Aynsley, the expert financier brought in to help put the bank back on its feet, has said that he had no idea of the extent of the tapes.

“I was shocked by them frankly. We hadn’t heard all the tapes,” he said, speaking on a talk show on Ireland’s TV3 channel. “We hadn’t heard these particular tapes. It was a bit of a surprise.”

A bit of a surprise is somewhat of an understatement for the public. The tapes reveal the general undercurrent in the bank’s culture, demonstrating the issues that Aynsley has pointed out in his recent interview.

There was a “continuing flow of difficult internal problems,” Aynsley stated. His input into the beleaguered company was to change “the vast majority” of the executives in a bid to streamline the bank and to resolve these very issues.

How did this environment even come to fruition? Aynsley says that the bank was a problem, but that the political situation was also a major contributor. There is a “weak regulatory environment,” according to Aynsley, which was akin to “hosting a 21-year-old’s birthday party… Nobody wants to come and say, ‘Go home.”

The cost of the bank’s folding will still cost the nation a fair amount. Aynsley, being the cautiously realistic type, still expects the bank to cost somewhere between €25 billion and €28 billion to resolve. A hefty number, but one that he has mitigated through his smart thinking during his time as Chief Executive Officer. He managed to significantly reduce the bank’s American deficits, helping to put the balance a little bit back into the region of manageable.

He also spoke about the relationship between the bank and the Department of Finance, which has been subjected to a lot of scrutiny in the past months. It was “testy” at times, Aynsley conceded, and it sometimes made the enforcement of borrowing agreements difficult at times.

Despite this, Aynsley had hopes for the bank just before its liquidation by the government.

For Mike Aynsley’s full comments on the tapes, please visit

  1. Thanks for letting me camp out in your blog for a little while today. I had a great time and tried to leave my campsite as good as when I arrived. I’ll be back!

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