The Money Lion | » Eurozone Crisis Timeline All the latest finance, business, money and legal news Fri, 01 Mar 2013 11:41:22 +0000 en hourly 1 The Money Lion | Ulster Bank to Close 20 Branches – UPDATED 17/1/13 Tue, 15 Jan 2013 08:00:50 +0000 Jamie Meikle In some more bad news for the banking industry on the Emerald Isle, Ulster Bank have announced they are to close around 20 (correction – the number is now 22) branches/sub-offices island wide.

Image created using a photo by "Images_of_Money" found on flickr


As the 3rd largest bank in Ireland, Ulster Bank currently operate 146 branches south of the border and 90 in Northern Ireland. The decision has come as part of the company’s recent review of their branch network. The Irish Bank Officials’ Association has indicated that the ROI and NI will see roughly half of the closures each.

In 2011, the bank was forced to write off £1bn in bad loans, mostly involving property. Last January it announced plans to shed 950 jobs over the course of 2012 – 350 in Northern Ireland and 600 in the Republic. However, the high profile IT problems experienced in the summer caused the redundancy plans to be delayed.

Ulster Bank did stress that they have no further plans for redundancies beyond the 950 announced last year.

No detail of the branch closures have been revealed yet. A spokesman for Ulster Bank explained:

“We continue to keep our branch network under review to ensure that we are operating in the correct locations for our customers,” said a statement from the bank.

“As part of this review we will be closing in the region of 20 branches and sub offices on the island of Ireland in 2013. We expect to be in a position to provide further details in the next few weeks and will communicate directly with our customers and employees at that time.”

Ulster Bank is likely very keen to see many customers begin using internet and mobile banking in the UK and Ireland.

In November the National Irish Bank closed all of its branches and rebranded to Danske Bank (the name of its Danish owners), switching entirely to servicing customers via post offices, internet banking and phone banking.

Over the course of 2012 several other major banks announced branch closures on the island. In July TSB Permanent announced it was planning to close 19 of its 92 branches with around 250 job losses. Allied Irish Banks has already closed 51 of its 267 branches with another 16 set to close over the coming months.

This all comes on top of a raft of closures of small banks which folded during the financial crisis.

It looks like many Irish customers will have to get used to the idea of either doing their banking at the post office or using phone or internet banking.

Are you planning to start doing your banking online or over the phone? If so feel free to let us know your feelings about it.


UPDATE 17/1/13 – Branches/sub-offices to be closed – 22 in total:

The Republic of Ireland closures:

Belturbet (Co Cavan), Castlepollard (Co Westmeath); Glenamaddy (Co Galway), Killeshandra (Co Cavan) and Kilnaleck (Co Cavan), together with the following sub-offices: Carrigallen (Co Cavan), Delvin (Co Westmeath), Kilcormac (Co Offaly), Kilkelly (Co Mayo), Rathangan (Co Kildare) and Swanlinbar (Co Cavan).

Northern Ireland closures:

Carryduff near Belfast, Dromore in Co. Tyrone, Harryville near Ballymena, Jordanstown near Belfast, Knock near Belfast, Longstone Street in Lisburn, and Shaftesbury Square in Belfast City; together with the following sub-offices: Ardglass in Co. Down, Moy in Co Armagh. Rosslea in Co. Fermanagh and Saintfield in Co Down.


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The Money Lion | Spanish General Strike Thu, 29 Mar 2012 08:13:19 +0000 Jamie Meikle  

Spanish workers are revolting against their new three month old government.The country’s biggest unions are up in arms over labour reforms and planned austerity measures,calling a general strike for today (29th March 2012).
The Spanish flag

Image in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s conservative People’s Party was elected on a platform of saving the country from economic ruin. They won a landslide victory over their socialist opponents and it was expected that the Spanish people were ready to swallow a bitter pill to save their economy. However, with the reality of the reforms sinking in the strikes could see a massive walkout happen.

While details of the austerity measures have not yet been announced, it’s common knowledge that they are going to be pretty brutal. The main point of contention that’s brought about the general strike seems to be the labour reforms. The new legislation will make it easier and less expensive for companies to make workers redundant, cut wages and make changes to other employment conditions. The unions fear that this legislation will further erode their power base which has been on the slide for years.

The number of people who take part in the Spanish general strike will give a strong indication of the level of support Rajoy’s government and may have an effect on future policy. However, many expect that the government will bullishly press on with their reforms and austerity measures even if they prove massively unpopular with the people. In fact, many believe that the Government will have little option if they wish to satisfy their European partners and foreign investors.

Finance Minister, Cristobal Montoro said:

“The question here is not whether the strike is honoured by many or few but rather whether we get out of the crisis. That is what is at stake and the government is not going to yield.”

Although I’m sure he would be a relatively happy man if the strikes did have a low turnout.

The indications so far seem to show that the walkouts will be substantial with 30% of workers in one poll claiming they would take part. Also, the strike had a high walkout rate among factory nightshift workers with Volkswagen and Renault manufacturing facilities being particularly badly hit.

While the reforms and the austerity measures look to be set in stone today could still have a major effect on Spanish politics for years to come; if the strikes are well attended and the Government bullishly presses on they are likely to become deeply unpopular.

Are you on the side of the workers or the Government? Let us know in the comments section.


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The Money Lion | Punk economics: the Eurozone crisis explained Wed, 08 Feb 2012 11:05:04 +0000 Andrew Scott  

I don’t want to be offensive to the punk community, but it’s not very often that they have an in depth point to make; they more often than not just cry, off with their heads.

They often fail to see the lines of commonality that bind there anarchist dreams to those of all the other oppressive social structures.

Probably the most important bit of economics you will ever watch ECONOMICSby David McWilliams#SMEcommunity
Peter Tompkins

The trouble with many ideologies is they are deeply attractive to some people and utterly repellent to others. We are not all equal, we don’t all want the same things. It doesn’t really matter whether your talking about economics or how much chilli to put in a curry, the best thing you can really hope for is a mutually acceptable compromise, that is what democracy should deliver anyway.

That being said it does feel like our current economic situation is nowhere near a mutually acceptable compromise. Rich people are getting richer and the gap between the top and the bottom is increasing year on year as I discussed in my earlier blog.

We are deep in an often cited Eurozone crisis, but what does it really all mean? The twittersphere was alight with links to this uniquely frank analysis of the situation, by Irish economist David McWilliams:

The video has all the hallmarks of a viral and since its release a week and a half ago it’s had nearly 54,000 views.

Punk Economics up to 18,000 views thanks for your support
David McWilliams

David McWilliams describes the video as a:

“new way of looking at the economy based on the central idea that what is important is not complicated and what is complicated is never important.”

‘A vindictive straitjacket to help banks not countries’ @ excellent video about fiscal ‘treaty’ v @
Miriam Cotton

Who knows what the future holds, but I have to say I agree at the very least with Mr McWilliams’ final statement and that is, sooner or later the people will stand up and say “no.” They certainly will and if governments don’t start accepting that, things could get a lot worse before they get better, riots and revolutions rarely end well.

Do you think the Eurozone crisis will improve soon? will things get much worse before they get better? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.


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The Money Lion | IMF Warns of Eurozone Crisis Leading to 30′s Style Slump and War Sat, 17 Dec 2011 13:30:48 +0000 Andrew Scott  

There is a lot of talk in the news these days, comparing our current economic climate to that with which we faced in the 1930’s. Only recently the IMF warned that if the global community did not settle their differences and start working together to tackle the Eurozone’s deepening debt crisis, we would all be heading for some very gloomy days indeed.

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 27JAN11 - Christine Lagarde, Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry of France; Member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum, speaks during the session 'Redesigning the International Monetary System: A Davos Debate' at the Annual Meeting 2011 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 27, 2011.  Copyright by World Economic Forum by Michael Wuertenberg

Christine Lagarde - Source Flickr

Stark warning

The head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, made her strongest warning yet about the state of the world economy and said if the international community failed to co-operate the risk was of “retraction, rising protectionism, isolation”.

She also painted a much more vivid picture that the failing economy was only ancillary to much greater risks, when she said:  ”This is exactly the description of what happened in the 1930s, and what followed is not something we are looking forward to.”

What Lagarde is referring to of course is World War II.

If you would allow me to indulge in a little scaremongering for the sake of clarity, the chairman of the IMF has essentially made an official statement, saying that: if nothing changes, we are on a course for another World War.

In my opinion it’s not all 1930’s at the moment either, there is quite a lot of the 1890’s in the air to me too.

A lesson from history

Before the 1930’s ‘The Great Depression’ was the moniker given to a slightly less virulent global economic downturn that lasted on-and-off between 1873 and 1896.  Though perhaps not as devastating as it’s more contemporary brother, it severely blighted the lives of the common man and fanned the flames for the First World War and the rise of communism.

What is most strikingly similar between the world today and that of the late 19th century is the extraordinary gap between the poor and the wealthy.

America’s top bosses enjoyed pay hikes of between 27% and 40% last year, according to the largest survey of US CEO pay and at the same time the latest government figures show wages for the majority of Americans are failing to keep up with inflation.

Since the 1980’s the distribution of wealth has been falling heavily in favour of a tiny minority, while the rest of us haven’t seen a wage increase in relative terms since the 50’s.

This may sound absurd to you when you think of all the things you can afford now, that your grandparents could not, but the reason we haven’t noticed, is that as all the money was being syphoned off to the board of directors, manufacturing was being moved to the east.

As a result products became cheaper and our measly wages went further.  The rise of wealth in the west from the 1980’s onwards has been an illusion.  Not since the 1890’s has the gap between the rich and poor been so pronounced.

Pressure is building

Twice, a long deep recession coupled with a disproportionally wealthy aristocracy has led to a world war and revolution.

Apart from a few crazies and ill-advised students, none of us are looking for a world war or a communist revolution, but if the richest few don’t start to find a workable way to share the burden and spread their wealth, the desperation of the masses may reach boiling point.

What are your thoughts about the deepening crisis and its historical parallels? Is it a pointless comparison or do we really have something to worry about? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.


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The Money Lion | The Eurozone Crisis: Timeline Fri, 02 Dec 2011 13:40:27 +0000 Mhairi Steele Unless you have been living in a cave the past few months, you will know that there are a number of countries in the Eurozone who are struggling to pay back huge debts they have: the Eurozone crisis.

European central bank via uggy boy

Some European countries spent too much money, had to borrow some more and now can’t pay it back due to rising interest rates. So we thought we’d look at how we got here. We will continue to update this blog post as more news is announced.



The EU orders France, Spain, the Irish Republic and Greece to reduce their budget deficits (the difference between their spending and earnings form tax).


There is much anger towards the previous Greek government over corruption and spending, and George Papandreou’s Socialists win a sudden general election.


Concerns about some EU member states’ debts start to grow following the Dubai sovereign debt crisis.


Greece admits that its debts have reached 300bn euro, the highest in modern history. Mr Papandreou insists that his country is “not about to default on its debts”.
Greece is burdened with debt amounting to 113% of GDP, which is nearly double the eurozone limit of 60%. Ratings agencies start to downgrade Greek bank and government debt.


February ’10

As well as Greece, concerns start to build about other heavily indebted countries like Portugal, Ireland, and Spain.
Greek borrowing costs reach record highs, 13.6% of GDP is attributed to the Greek deficit


February ’11 

Eurozone ministers set up a permanent bailout fund worth about £500bn euros.

May ’11

Eurozone and the IMF approve a 78bn-euro bailout for Portugal.

June ’11

Discussions have started around forcing Greece out of the Eurozone.

July ’11

A second bailout for Greece is agreed.

August ’11:

European Central Bank commits to buying Italian and Spanish Government bonds to bring down borrowing costs.
Italy passes a 50bn-euro austerity budget.
The European Commission predicts the eurozone will grow by 0.2%.

September ’11:

Leading finance ministers urge urgent and decisive action to deal with the debt crisis.
Italy has it’s debt rating cut to ‘A’ from ‘A+’.
George Osborne says there are just ‘six weeks’ left to save the euro.

October ’11:

General strike brings Greece to a standstill.
Franco- Belgian bank Dexia receives a huge bailout.
Euro ministers agree Greek bailout.
Slovakia is the 17th and final country to approve the expansion of the eurozone’s rescue fund, two days after rejecting the plan.
George Papandreou’s defies logic with he announces that he will put Europe’s latest efforts to rescue the Greek economy to a public vote. Disappointment and panic spread across the Eurozone.

November ’11:

George Papandreou abandons his plan to hold a referendum, amid scenes of open warfare in his own party.
Lucas Papademos replaces George Papandreou as Greek Prime Minister.
After the Italy’s borrowing rate peaked at 7.40% Silvio Berlusconi stepped down as Italian Prime Minister to restore investor confidence and was replaced by Mario Monti.
G20 leaders meet in Cannes and for the first time, EU leaders admit that it might be necessary for Greece to leave the eurozone if the single currency is to survive.
The US administration has expressed concerns that the Eurozone crisis could damage the US economy.
But world markets were up in response to reports of a proposed fiscal union that would set binding limits on eurozone government borrowing.

December ’11:

President Nicolas Sarkozy called for a new EU treaty to save the single currency in a ‘make of break week’.
Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, has commented that the ECB is ready and willing to help in the fight to solve the Eurozone crisis and it is widely agreed that this is neede.
David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy are in talks in Paris to reorganise the Governance of the Eurozone which could potentially lead to a lessening in Britain’s influence. Germany and France are to agree a plan of action on how they are going to stop the crisis.

So what’s next for the Eurozone? Things can only get better. . .right? We’ll be updating this timeline weekly to keep you informed, meanwhile you can share your thoughts about any recent events in our comments section below.

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