All the new pretenders in banking are falling by the wayside as Ireland turns back the clock to the 1980s. Halifax now follows Anglo Irish Bank, quitting the game and leaving us to the horror of the two establishment banks, AIB and Bank of Ireland.
I know that Anglo and Halifax's sister company, BOSI, were large property lenders and I am well aware of the pain and fallout from the lending. This alone is not reason enough to discard them.
Sometimes the most creative people and businesses are the most difficult to manage. It angers me deeply to see us left to the debtor-prison hell that will be AIB and Bank of Ireland.
Before the Celtic Tiger, Ireland was an economic disaster area led from the top by the two establishment banks. These institutions are lumbering, fattening their executives and management at the expense of the customers and shareholders. They offer no vision for a better Ireland. They are the past.
During the boom they used to wine and dine Anglo and BOSI clients, trying to lend them money. They piled into the market from 2005 onwards, lending money to anything that moved. They could not compete in a creative way with Anglo and BOSI, so they would lend cheap money with low security.
For some reason that I cannot understand, our government has chosen to save the "big two banks", and abandon the country to their ways at the expense of the creative banks. The combined creative brain power of the "big two" is firmly in the negative zone, and without the competition and creative pressure of other dynamic banks, Ireland seems destined to revert to the past and become a backwater.
The establishment government will save the establishment banks. That seems to be the message from Leinster House: Let the banks rip the average person to pieces and destroy their lives.
In the UK, 46,000 people had their properties repossessed in 2009. This is an insight into what is to come in Ireland over the coming years. People who have lost their jobs, and have eaten through their savings, will have no choice but to face the banks. This is the legacy that Ireland will have from the boom years.
I have seen how the banks are handling real people in the real economy and it is a disgrace. Developers are being handled with kid gloves, whereas real people are being crushed. Recently I have seen correspondence about a relatively small loan matter (not mine) and the bank's language and wording was clearly designed to intimidate and terrify the customer. Fear is now the banks' favoured weapon.
The banks will show no mercy in evicting families and selling homes, as their very survival depends on their ability to collect the interest and capital on their loans. This destruction of lives and families is in stark contrast to how the banks deal with their own debts, which they cannot repay.
Bank debt is traded on an over-the-counter market, and because the Irish banks are insolvent, their debt trades at a discount to face value.
This means that AIB and Bank of Ireland can get away without paying back their loans. They buy in their own debt at a discount. To make it even sweeter, they can use the government and ECB bailout money to do this.
Wouldn't we all love to have this magic ability to make our debts vanish? This is exactly what is happening every time you read in the newspaper that AIB or Bank of Ireland have improved their capital position by buying back their bonds.
As we keep seeing, there is one law for the bankers and another law for the people. AIB and Bank of Ireland will not pay back their loans in full. We the people should do the same. Everybody needs to deal at 50p in the pound. Then we can move on.
Simon Kelly is a former property developer. The views expressed in his 'Sunday Tribune' opinion column are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of this newspaper