Cantillon: Nama prepares for the worst
NAMA at the Treasurry Building.
Keen Nama watchers will have spotted
the hidden message in the agency’s announcement that it is tendering for two service providers to manage the loans that it will be acquiring from the liquidator of IBRC.
One tender is to service commercial property loans, residential investment and development loans. The other is to service personal loans, principally residential mortgage loans.
IBRC staff working on these loans are expected to transfer to whoever wins the tenders and others will be recruited by Nama directly.
The loans will transfer to Nama later this year if the liquidator – Kieran Wallace of KPMG – cannot sell them to third parties. Nama was at pains to point out that “it is not yet clear what proportion of the current IBRC portfolio (New Loans) will transfer to Nama, given that the Special Liquidator’s sales process has not concluded” but given the decision to go out to tender for service providers it looks like Nama is anticipating quite a significant amount of loans will be transferring.
This in turn implies that the liquidator will not be pricing the loans “to go” as many had feared because of the possible knock-on effects for the debtors and the markets for the various assets secured on the loans.
Given that the Department of Finance has the final say on the valuations being put on the IBRC loans, it would seem then that someone in Merrion Street has decided that a fire sale would not be a good idea.
It is good news for IBRC employees as it now looks like “a significant number” of them will continue in employment for the foreseeable future either with Nama, the tender winners or Capita Asset Services who have separately been appointed to manage the €41 billion of Nama loans that were previously managed for it by IBRC.
At the same time it has to be acknowledged that one of the prime reasons advanced by IBRC management for keeping the dead bank going – that greater value would be realised for the tax payers by a slow wind down – seems to have been sort of vindicated.