CIF indicates it will not attempt to block Nama

 

CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY Federation (CIF) director general Tom Parlon has indicated that his group will not seek to block the establishment of the National Asset Management Agency (Nama), the “bad bank” which is likely to put CIF members who cannot repay bank loans into liquidation or bankruptcy.

The Nama team, led by interim director Brendan McDonagh, this week eliminated 66 contenders for the formal role of banking and financial adviser to the new body.

The winner, to be chosen next week from a shortlist of six unnamed finalists, will start work in 10 days. Separately, Nama is seeking tax and legal advisers.

About 100 companies engaged in development and construction are understood to have attended a CIF meeting yesterday at which Mr Parlon and economic consultants Lombard Street Research gave a briefing on the Nama plan.

Already the beneficiaries of significant bank forbearance, many construction and development businesses fear they will be put out of business after Nama is established on a statutory footing in the autumn.

In an illustration of the threat they face, Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan last week said big borrowers for property assets who are in a position of “hopeless insolvency” will wind up in bankruptcy or liquidation when Nama sets about its work.

While some opponents of the plan are said to be making preparations for possible legal challenges against the new agency, it is unlikely that the CIF will be involved.

In a statement last night, Mr Parlon struck a co-operative tone.

“The purpose of today’s meeting was to ensure that CIF members understand how Nama is likely to operate and how it will affect their day-to-day banking requirements going forward,” he said.

“The CIF is supportive of the major restructuring that is taking place to restore international investor confidence in the Irish banking system and ensure a sustained flow of credit to individuals, households and business within the domestic economy.

“Our approach to Nama, therefore, is to ensure its progression onto the statute books at the soonest opportunity to get the economy moving again.”

He added that the property sector would “play a vital role in ensuring the successful work out of loans under the Nama arrangement and in supporting increased activity, jobs and Government revenues as part of Ireland’s economic recovery”.