The Irish banking sector is still struggling to cope with the impact of Brexit, but a new report says that the biggest banks are doing the right thing.
The Bank of Ireland (BoI), which oversees more than €5 trillion, has said it will hold off from issuing new credit, and that the BoI will consider the need for a ‘flexible’ period in which to review its lending standards.
The BoI has also announced it will review the size of its balance sheet in light of Brexit.
The report, from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said that the Irish banks could be at greater risk if the UK leaves the EU.
Bank of England Chief Executive Mark Carney has said the BoE will review its balance sheets as soon as possible following the referendum result.
It said that it could have an impact on the size and sustainability of Irish banks’ loans.
The new report said: ‘The Irish banks should be aware of the potential for a tightening of capital requirements, and the likelihood that a significant tightening of credit requirements might occur in the near future.’
In light of this, the BoIs prudential framework should be flexible to enable the Irish banking system to take appropriate measures to ensure the stability of its financial position.’
The BoIs financial statement for the third quarter of 2017 showed a net loss of €13.3 billion compared to a net profit of €5.9 billion in the previous quarter.
Bank accounts showed that the loss was mainly due to a £2.9bn increase in losses in its credit and cash balance.
The Irish economy has been in recession since the start of 2017.
The economy shrank by 0.2 per cent in the third three months of 2017 compared to the same period last year.
The banking sector has struggled to deal with the loss of business after Brexit, with the number of people in debt standing at an all-time high of 4.2 million.
It has been a source of concern for investors and economists.
Irish banks have struggled to find any funding following Brexit, which has resulted in an exodus of people and business.
The latest data suggests that there is now a net negative impact on bank balance sheets, according to the Bank of International Settlements.
A further impact of the UK’s vote to leave the EU could see the value of Irish government bonds falling.
However, the report said that there could be other factors that could increase the risk of a financial crisis.
The authors of the report, Martin Barrett and John Coughlan, said: The Irish banks will have to make difficult choices as they grapple with the uncertainty that Brexit presents.
‘The uncertainty over the outcome of Brexit is likely to continue to have a negative impact both for the Irish financial system and the overall economy, as well as on the ability of Irish institutions to meet their commitments to their customers.’
As a result, the financial health of Irish banking institutions may be affected and they will have a significant financial burden.’
The report also said that in some areas of the Irish economy, there is more risk of recession in the future.
It highlighted a recent analysis of the impact on banks’ balance sheets of Brexit on Irish consumers, which showed that a 10 per cent decline in UK GDP was linked to a 7 per cent increase in the number paying off loans.
‘In light to the impact that Brexit has on Irish banks, the authors conclude that the banks should take steps to minimise the risk to their financial position,’ it said.