Troubled Anglo Irish could be told to quit UK

BAILED-OUT Anglo Irish Bank could be forced to quit the UK if it is allowed to go ahead with a rescue plan.

Chief executive Mike Aynsley has proposed winding up 80 per cent of Anglo’s damaged loan book through Ireland’s “bad bank”, the National Asset Management Agency. He wants to save the remaining 20 per cent, worth around €12bn (£10bn), by spinning it off into a “good bank”.

If the Irish government and European regulators allow the split to happen, Anglo would stop lending to the UK market for at least five years. It could also be asked to wind up its UK retail deposit book. Anglo holds around £2.5bn of high street cash from the region.

The bank’s future will be thrashed out this week at a series of meetings between Irish finance minister Brian Lenihan, European Union competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia and European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet.

Although the European Commission is pressing to wind down the bank completely, the Irish government has warned its immediate closure could cost the taxpayer €70bn. The state’s current exposure is €25bn.

The news comes after Anglo lost €8.3bn in the first half of the year.