Bank of Ireland Leading Irish Financial Renaissance

Jacob Harper  |

On Feb 13 The Governor and Company Bank of Ireland (IRE) , commonly known as just the Bank of Ireland, posted a five percent gain, erasing some of the ground lost earlier in the month. The pop represents another big gain for a bank that has been on one of the most impressive runs during the economic recovery for any major bank in the developed world.

The Dublin-based institution, which is one of the two majors in the country to survive the Great Recession, has impressed investors on both its newfound profitability and promises to never again fall into the overleveraged, toxic muck that nearly pushed the lender into total insolvency.

CEO Richie Boucher has recently analogized the bank’s irresponsible lending practices during the boom to “a wild party (where) even good girls can get into trouble.” While Irish politicians like European Parliament candidate Lynn Boylan criticized the boorish metaphor, Boucher’s other less colorful comments indicated a vision for the country’s financials moving towards an economy that, while less likely to grow explosively, would be safer, less risky, and ultimately less prone to catastrophe.  

Boucher noted that Ireland needs more banks to help ensure the safety of an economy that saw an abrupt about face, going from one of the fastest growing in the world to one of the more stagnant. The “Celtic Tiger” prosperity of 1995-2006 turned into the Irish Banking Crisis of 2008-2014 that saw a number of country's financial institutions fail, notably one of the largest commercial banks in the entire country, the Anglo-Irish Bank.

The Bank of Ireland came under partial government stewardship in 2008 as part of a government-sponsored bailout. After languishing for some time following recapitalization, the lender has been reenergized, and has doubled in value from its valuation a year prior.

By midday trading, Bank of Ireland had gained 5.27 percent to hit $18.37 a share.

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