Monday, 22 November 2010

Take your money out of Irish banks

The stats page indicates this blog has some readership in Ireland, so here's some advice for you: Get your money out of the bank! Well, some of it at least. Ireland is now in an Iceland situation - it has a couple of large banks, Allied Irish Banks and Anglo Irish Bank which have spread their tentacles around the world and are in danger of over reaching themselves. Their operations are out of all proportion to the banking requirements of the Irish economy.

Of these Allied is the one giving most cause for concern. The reason being that it has greater retail exposure and although 100% backed by government guarantees there might come a time when the government does not have enough cash to honour that pledge.

Anglo on the other hand is government-owned and had little retail exposure. Its debts are huge but they're the government's problem. Allied's debts could be your problem.

So the current EU/UK loan is an exit opportunity for anyone with cash in Allied. Take it out, move it somewhere safer. In fact now is a good time to be holding a substantial fraction of your savings in cash, at home. (Hide it well!) Ireland is entering a time of uncertainty similar to the tail end of 2007. The most likely future is simply that the crisis will blow over. However, other scenarios are possible: bank failure, "long weekends" and unscheduled bank holidays, withdrawal limits, and it's even possible that Ireland would try to break free from the euro (although this is extremely unlikely for the reasons given in the previous post.)

In the event any of these things come to pass - holding a big wad of euro notes in your hands would be very reassuring.

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