Includes special features of this country’s banking system and rules/laws that might impact U.S. business.
Last Published: 8/6/2019
A very sophisticated banking environment exists which offers many sources of financing to organizations doing business in Ireland.  In broad terms, the sources of financing can be classified into two groups: a) financing and financial services available directly from banks, and other financial institutions, and b) financing available through financial markets, such as the Irish Stock Exchange (Euronext).

The Irish domestic banking sector, like many worldwide, came under intense pressure in 2007 and 2008 following the collapse of Ireland’s construction industry and an end to Ireland’s property boom.  It was subsequently determined that a number of Ireland’s financial lenders (entirely commercially owned), were severely under-capitalized and required government bailouts to survive.  Consolidation and deleveraging followed and a number of institutions were resolved.  The creation of the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA)  supported the banking industry and removed severely impaired property loans (granted on inflated asset prices) from the main institutions.  As a result the government effectively controls Allied Irish Banks; has recapitalized Permanent TSB; Anglo Irish Bank, Irish Nationwide Building Society and Educational Building Society are resolved and no longer exist, while Bank of Ireland succeeded to remain non-nationalized by realizing capital from the sale of non-essential portfolios as well as targeted burden-sharing with some bondholders.

The role of the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI)  traditionally has been similar to that of central banks in other developed countries.  The CBI is responsible for both central banking and financial regulation; and since 1998 in discharging its function as part of the European System of Central Banks in the Eurozone.  A new CBI structure formed in 2010 which replaced the three previously related entities, the Central Bank and the Financial Services Authority of Ireland and the Financial Regulator.  The CBI is responsible for the stability of Ireland’s financial system and for ensuring proper and effective regulation of financial institutions and markets.  It oversees and regulates Ireland’s domestic banks; and international and investment banking operations located within the International Financial Services Center (IFSC).

All banks operating in Ireland must be licensed by the CBI.  Retail banks in Ireland provide all general banking services, including comprehensive current account services and mortgage facilities.  Retail banks are subsidiaries and affiliates of the main clearing banks which tend to concentrate on specific types of banking business; examples include wholesale and corporate banking, installment credit and leasing; and capital market activities.  International and investment banking; and other financial services are carried out by banks which operate in the International Financial Services Center (IFSC).

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Ireland Market Access Banks