Friday, November 23, 2007

The Blame Game

AN Irish Nationwide Building Society committee set up to approve home loans of over €1m was merely "a device" to satisfy the Financial Regulator, a spurned senior manager has claimed.

In practice there was "limited compliance" with the mortgage provider's own rules and loans were "entirely informal", it has been alleged.

In the first major sign of a blame game within the banking system over the role of mortgage lenders in the recent solicitor's scandals, a senior INBS official has accused his employers of providing leaked reports of his suspension to the media in an attempt to discredit him over the remortgaging affair.

Yesterday, Tipperary native Brian Fitzgibbon, who has been a homeloans manager with the Irish Nationwide since 2000, claimed that he is being "scapegoated" over the approval of loans to disgraced solicitors Michael Lynn and Thomas Byrne.

Mr Fitzgibbon (41) from Liscahill, Thurles, was granted an injunction preventing his suspension after he claimed that his employers victimised him over the approval of loans to the solicitors who are now under garda investigation and whose practices have been closed by the Law Society.

He claims INBS managing director Michael Fingleton was personally responsible for bypassing the society's own procedures for granting loans and he (Fingleton) gave direct approval for at least one substantial loan for Mr Lynn for the purchase of Glenlion House, Howth, where Mr Lynn and his wife hoped to live.

The Indo

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