SOURCE: The Bedford Report

The Bedford Report

November 11, 2011 08:16 ET

Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks Showing Steady Signs of Progress

The Bedford Report Provides Equity Research on Bank of Ireland & Allied Irish Banks

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Nov 11, 2011) - Despite a myriad of domestic and foreign headwinds, Irish banks have shown signs of strength lately. Recently Ireland's Finance Minister Michael Noonan said banks they "should" have enough "headroom" to cope with new European stress test targets. The European Central Bank's Ireland mission head Klaus Masuch said there had been a "lot of progress," while other officials said the banks' assets sales were progressing well. The Bedford Report examines the outlook for companies in the Irish Banking Sector and provides stock analysis on The Bank of Ireland (NYSE: IRE) (LSE: BKIR) (Irish: BIR.IR) and Allied Irish Banks PLC (PINKSHEETS: AIBYY) (Irish: AIB.IR). Access to the full company reports can be found at:

www.bedfordreport.com/IRE

www.bedfordreport.com/AIBYY

Ireland's government pledged to radically shrink its domestic banking sector after a disastrous binge on property loans. Ireland's banks need to shrink their loan books to reduce their dependence on emergency funding from the European Central Bank and the Irish central bank, which at the end of September stood at 153.6 billion euros.

Bank of Ireland, the country's largest lender, is to sell 10 billion euros in loans and accept repayment of another 20 billion euros worth by the end of 2013. Bank of Ireland has already sold a portfolio of project finance loans with total commitments of 670 million euros to GE Energy Financial Services.

The Bedford Report releases investment research on the Irish Banking Sector so investors can stay ahead of the crowd and make the best investment decisions to maximize their returns. Take a few minutes to register with us free at www.bedfordreport.com and get exclusive access to our numerous analyst reports and industry newsletters.

Last month Irish Banks were warned to stop increasing interest rates on standard variable mortgages, saying the hikes are pushing people into arrears. Financial regulator Matthew Elderfield made the warning at a meeting with the chief executives of Allied Irish Banks, Bank of Ireland, EBS, Permanent TSB, Ulster Bank and KBC, state broadcaster RTE reported.

Earlier this week Allied Irish Banks said that it does not plan to cut its variable mortgage rate. The government has said it will consider legislation to force banks to pass on ECB cuts if they do not do so voluntarily. AIB said its customers had already benefited from its decision not to hike rates in line with the ECB earlier in the year. After the meeting at Government Buildings, AIB executive chairman David Hodgkinson said: "Because we didn't increase it, we won't lower it."

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