Union savings bank SAUSA could be forced to sell assets, including a property, as it struggles to survive amid the fallout from the country’s sovereign debt crisis.
The state-owned bank, which has an €8.5bn loan facility from the European Central Bank, said on Friday that it would be liquidating some of its assets in the event of a capital shortfall and that the total of the savings bank’s assets was less than €4bn.
It said it was in talks with its partners and stakeholders on how best to cope with the consequences of a sudden downturn.
The Irish Independent understands that the savings institution, which employs 2,000 people, has been operating in an emergency scenario.
The bank has not disclosed the nature of the losses or the full scope of the restructuring.
The central bank’s chief economist, David Laidlaw, said last week that the situation at the bank was “quite bad”.
“It is not as if the bank is insolvent,” he said.
“The risk of a bank run is now very real and we need to be very, very cautious about what we do.”
But the Irish Government said the situation had improved significantly.
“This is an incredibly complex situation, but it has improved markedly over the last three months,” Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said.
“The government is now in discussions with the bank to address this very complex and complex situation.”
The bank said it would make further announcements later this month.
Its head of retail banking, Michael Smith, told reporters on Thursday that the bank’s cash and deposits had not fallen below €4 billion.
But he added that the overall situation was “not good”.
“The bank is at risk of being taken over by the State in the future,” he told the Financial Times.
SAUSA has a €2.4bn loan guarantee from the ECB.
Under Irish law, a bank’s total assets are not guaranteed by the state but the government pays up to 30 per cent of the amount it borrows.