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Me, NAMA, TINA, EBS and the final frontier December 12, 2009

Posted by Tomboktu in Business, Ethics, Neo-conservatives, The Far Right.
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I have received notice of the EBS’s Special General Meeting that is being held next Friday to decide on a resolution that would permit the Society to issue Special Investment Shares to the Minister for Finance. Those shares could allow the Minister to have an majority in any vote on any resolution in the Society voted on by members and to appoint or remove directors of the Society.

The board of directors state in the information booklet sent to members that in the event of a “no” vote, the board “does not believe that it will identify any alternative source of capital and it could have material adverse consequences for EBS’ business, operating results, financial condition and prospects”.

I picked EBS for my mortgage precisely because it is a mutual society, owned by its members. Some years ago, I chose to bank with TSB because it, at the time, was the nearest equivalent but that has gone west with the sale by the State of TSB to Irish Permanent. In this country, I now don’t have any choice but to bank with a for-private-profit bank.

While a “yes” vote would not technically change EBS into a for-private profit entity, I do not share the ethos of the mandarins in the Department of Finance and I do not trust them to continue to respect the wishes of those of us who want to so even the minimal bit that we can in the current financial markets and structures to avoid contributing to the accummulation of massive wealth by a small group. I am worried that in a few years time a common “consensus” will “emerge” stating that it is “clear” that it would be “best” for the State to privatise EBS.

How should I vote on Friday?

Comments»

1. EWI - December 12, 2009

There’s clearly a book to be written here on what happened to derail the ‘third force’ in banking that was envisaged some years ago.

And especially whodunnit, and what that reveals about who was really driving the banking trainwreck that has enveloped this country in the last few years (and blaming this on the international situation isn’t going to wash – that was merely the trigger for an inevitable banking collapse).

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Tomboktu - December 12, 2009

I had been mulling, long before the crisis, the possibility of trying to get a non-for-private profit bank into the Irish market.

I would hardly be the best person to do it, not being a banker. (Nor indeed able to keep a simple set of accounts for a small NGO correctly — all transaction were correctly recorded, but the previous treasurer told me that it was all wrong!)

There would be a lot of learning involved: What are the current limits on the services credit unions can offer? Could the British co-op bank open up shop here (in the way that Rabo bank from NL has)? And if so, is it really still a co-op or is that just a trading name? Would it be possible to get together a group of people to start from scratch? And heck, since we are in a crisis, would now be a good time? Would people be willing to take their business to an alternative if it were available?

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WorldbyStorm - December 12, 2009

God Tomboktu, that’s a hell of a question. You’ve pointed to a glaring problem in this state, there just isn’t an alternative for those of us who don’t want to be in the ‘for profit’ sector when we use financial and other services. In the UK, or indeed on the continent, such provision is almost taken for granted.

I think you’re right EWI, that this is part of a specific agenda. I find it remarkable that FF given it’s history of initiating at least slightly community based institutions has turned its back on that completely. What’s also puzzling is the lack of energy from Labour on this front.

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2. Tim - December 13, 2009

Sadly, the possibility of setting up a rival bank is so low because of the massive legislation in the banking sector.
You could get some interesting info from the US Savings and Loan debacle from the 80s (?) where massive frauds were perpetrated in the not-quite-a-bank sector.
Right now I don’t trust anybody with my money, which is fine because I don’t have any.

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3. A short mull on NAMA, civil servants with mortgages & the Minister’s new powers « The Cedar Lounge Revolution - February 10, 2010

[…] comes to the end of a fixed rate period shortly, which means i am considering my options. I mentioned on CLR before that I was concerned at one aspect of the NAMA legislation: that it could lead to a forced […]

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