Nama has paid €7.5m for 91 redundancies since start of 2016

Potential Nama repurposing by State could allow it to scale back on its exit scheme

Nama headquarters at the Treasury building in Dublin. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Nama headquarters at the Treasury building in Dublin. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

 

The National Asset Management Agency (Nama) has paid out €7.5 million in exit payments since the beginning of 2016.

Some 91 staff have availed of the agency’s redundancy and retention scheme, a response to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath shows.

Earlier this month, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Nama, which currently has 254 staff, could be repurposed as an agency to develop land, effectively making it a State-owned housing developer.

Asked whether the organisation plans to scale back on its redundancy and retention scheme following Mr Varadkar’s comments, a Nama spokesman said: “The agency continues to keep its staffing requirements under review to ensure that value for the State is maximised and Nama’s ability to deliver on its strategic objectives is maintained.”

A Department of Finance spokesman said the organisation has “operational independence” and therefore could alter its scheme if that were necessary to deliver its “key strategic objectives”.

The average payment of €82,417 comes from a scheme established in 2015 following concern within Nama’s board that the organisation wouldn’t be able to retain key staff members considering their ultimate job was to see the agency winding down by 2020.

As a result, Nama made €20 million available for redundancy and retention payments from its own resources.

Retention element

Staff seeking to avail of the retention element had to have been identified by Nama as essential to achieving its objectives, be on a specified-purpose contract, have a minimum of two years’ employment with the agency at the time of redundancy, have maintained a “fully satisfactory” rating and remain with Nama until an agreed termination date.

Staff on permanent contracts were not eligible for the scheme but have the right to return to work with the National Treasury Management Agency, from where they were seconded to Nama.

Established in 2010 to remove toxic property loans from the balance sheets of domestic Irish banks, Nama’s role has expanded into funding the construction of offices and new homes on some of the sites used to secure the debts. It is backing various projects in a special development zone in Dublin’s docklands.

The agency achieved a surplus of €1.5 billion in 2016 and was on track to repay all its €30.2 billion in senior debt by the end of this year, and the remaining €1.6 billion in subordinated debt by 2020.

The organisation’s 2018 voluntary redundancy scheme was advertised in July and the process behind that is ongoing.