14/05/2010

NAMA Move Welcomed At Stormont

There has been a welcome for an announcement by the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) confirming the establishment of its NI Advisory Committee.

NI Finance Minister Sammy Wilson said: "Since the announcement of NAMA in April 2009, I have liaised closely with Minister Lenihan to ensure that Northern Ireland interests are dealt with efficiently and effectively.

"As one of my key priorities was formal Northern Ireland input into the NAMA decision making process, I welcome the announcement of the Northern Ireland representatives, Frank Cushanan and Brian Rowntree on the Advisory Committee," he said.

"NAMA will shortly take control of some property and development loans based in Northern Ireland.

"I am confident that Mr Cushnahan and Mr Rowntree will bring a wealth of experience to the table, and will help ensure that Northern Ireland’s interests are best protected over this period and are in no way disadvantaged by the implementation of NAMA."
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Mr Wilson concluded: "For my part I will be continuing my direct engagement with Minister Lenihan as the process develops."

NAMA, the Irish Republic's so-called "bad bank", has been set up to buy and manage mainly bad property loans held by Dublin-based financial institutions and will take over about £5bn of loans in Northern Ireland.

Financial experts believe as many as 200 individuals or businesses in NI will find themselves dealing with NAMA and developers who hold loans will have 30 days to produce a credible business plan for repaying the loans.

The aim of NAMA is to remove bad or impaired assets from the banks' balance sheets, allowing them to rebuild their financial strength.

Ultimately that will allow them to start lending again and get credit flowing to businesses and home buyers.

It is also hoped that it will protect or enhance Ireland's international credit rating.

The plan assumes NAMA's €54bn debt will fall by €6.5bn per year from 2013 onwards, until NAMA's wind-up in 2020.

(BMcC/GK)

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