Saturday, November 06, 2010

Ireland's Freemasons Hit Hard by Banking Crisis

Ireland's Freemasons are among numerous organizations, churches, dioceses, political figures and charities which have lost a fortune on their Bank of Ireland investment shares. At their highest value in February 2007, the shares traded at €18.70 (US$26.24), but they were trading at their lowest point this year yesterday at just 43c (US$0.60).

From the article "Catholic Church loses millions in bank share crash" in the Belfast Telegraph today:

The Masonic Trust Company, which represents the Freemasons and invests money on behalf of Masonic Lodges around Ireland, is nursing one of the biggest investment losses with its shares reduced from a high of €12.7 million (US$17.8 million) to just €338,000 (US$474,000).

The collapse of Irish banks was triggered in 2008 by reckless lending to property developers, combined with an inability of the Irish banking system to adjust its currency by increasing interest rates or devaluing currency, since Ireland is part of the European Union. Bank of Ireland’s bad debt levels are believed to be €7 billion over the last three years. Bank of Ireland escaped total nationalization and emerged from the country's financial crisis as the "best of the country's bad banks" after a bailout from the Irish Government of €3.5 billion (US$4.9 billion) into it earlier this year.

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