Nama expects to provide outsourced services to new housing finance body
Home Building Finance Ireland to be allocated €750m to help deliver 6,000 homes
Since Nama was tasked in 2014 with helping to deliver more homes in Ireland to alleviate undersupply, the agency has delivered almost 5,600 homes, with a further 3,000 under construction
The National Asset Management Agency (Nama) expects to provide outsourced services to the Government’s planned Home Building Finance Ireland (HBFI), which aims to provide up to €750 million in loans to non-Nama developers planning to build homes.
This may result in a slowdown in the pace of planned job cuts at Nama in the short term.
Speaking to The Irish Times on Wednesday, Nama chairman Frank Daly said that HBFI would probably be established as a standalone entity outside the National Treasury Management Agency, which houses Nama. Its €750 million of funding is earmarked to come from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.
Nama will probably have a “service level agreement” with the agency, which, the Government revealed on Tuesday as part of Budget 2018, would offer loans on “commercial market-equivalent terms and conditions”, Mr Daly said.
Nama, which is due to wind down by the end of the decade, has seen 91 staff depart since the beginning of 2016 as it sold off portfolios of loans at pace. It currently has about 250 employees, including 87 staff working on the agency’s programme to boost homebulding among its borrowers. It expects to see its staff number fall by a further 11 early next year under a redundancy programme.
“We’re still in a downward trajectory, but [for] a certain amount of those who might be leaving, we might say to them ‘there’s a job for you to work on HBFI’,” Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh said in the same interview. “So, rather than some of these people finishing work in 2018, they might be here in 2020.”
Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said in his Budget 2018 speech that the planned HBFI fund aimed at non-Nama developers would have the potential to fund the construction of 6,000 homes.
A survey published by the Construction Industry Federation on Monday showed that almost two-thirds of construction companies that sought to borrow from financial institutions in the last year reported difficulty in securing finance.
It is expected that HBFI, which requires enabling legislation, will offer loans of up to 80 per cent of the value of projects, which is more than the main Irish banks are currently lending. The main banks are currently offering as much as 65-70 per cent debt financing for projects.
Since Nama was tasked in 2014 with helping to deliver more homes in Ireland to alleviate undersupply, the agency has delivered almost 5,600 homes, with a further 3,000 under construction, as it provided funding to its debtors to build on land, according to figures published by the Department of Finance on Tuesday. A further 6,400 units have planning permission.