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Irish financial regulator Elderfield to step down


DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland's financial regulator and deputy central bank governor Matthew Elderfield will step down later this year to return home to the United Kingdom, the central bank said on Monday.

Elderfield, the first non-Irishman to head Ireland's regulator, was hired in 2010 as part of a shake-up of regulation after a wave of reckless lending to property developers led to the collapse of the Irish banking sector.

"I feel we have built a strong regulator and set Ireland on a path to financial stability," Elderfield said in the statement. "But after some six years away, it is time to return home to London."

Before taking the job in Ireland, Elderfield was the head of financial regulation in Bermuda. He also spent eight years at the UK Financial Services Authority.

During his time as regulator Elderfield introduced stiffer fines for financial irregularities and boosted staffing at the regulator, which he said was surprisingly poorly resourced when he arrived.

He has called for a re-evaluation of financial crime laws, saying delays in prosecuting those involved in the collapse of the banks were undermining public confidence.

Last month he announced binding deadlines for banks to address troubled mortgages, saying it would force them to write down the value of housing loans if measures proposed were deemed unsustainable.

Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan said in a statement that Elderfield had made clear he had always only intended to spend a few years in Ireland. The statement said he would step down in six months' time.

Elderfield is also the alternate chairperson of the European Banking Authority.

(Reporting by Laura Noonan and Conor Humphries; Editing by Catherine Evans)