Nama 'does not suspect' it was misled by banks

 

THE NATIONAL Asset Management Agency (Nama) has backed away from suggestions that it was given false and misleading information by banks in relation to loans, according to a letter sent to the Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield.

Mr Elderfield indicated in a letter to the Dáil Public Accounts Committee on December 17th that Nama had backed away from its suggestion that it had received misleading information in relation to loans.

The controversy erupted last month when Nama’s chief executive Brendan McDonagh told the committee that he did not disagree with comments by Fianna Fáil TD Michael McGrath that there had been a clear pattern of false and misleading information being fed by the banks during last year.

“We received a response from Mr McDonagh this week. Nama’s letter does not refer any matter to us in respect of the conduct of any regulated entity,” said Mr Elderfield.

“Further, Nama’s letter informs us that it does not have a valid basis to suspect that there has been any criminal offence or other contravention of the Nama Act.”

Mr McGrath made his remarks in relation to the difference between the discounts the banks believed they were entitled to on the loans they were selling to Nama and the discounts eventually applied after the agency carried out its own due diligence.

Mr McGrath said that if Nama had accepted in good faith the information given by the banks it could have overpaid for their loan book to the tune of €20 billion.

Mr McDonagh told the committee he did not disagree with what Mr McGrath had said. Following the exchange, Mr Elderfield contacted Mr McDonagh about his comments.

Mr McDonagh has been recalled to give evidence before the committee in early January on this issue and in relation to salary scales paid to senior executives in the organisation.

Staff assigned to work in Nama are employees of the National Treasury Management Agency. The NTMA has given the committee details of the number of staff paid at particular levels rather than details of specific payments. It said 16 members of staff are being paid more than €200,000 per year. A further 22 staff were receiving between €150,000 and €200,000 a year.

A further 65 NTMA staff are on salaries of between €100,000 and €150,000, while 202 staff are earning incomes of up to €100,000.