Nama could pro­vide ser­vices to new hous­ing body

The Irish Times - Business - - BUSINESS - JOE BREN­NAN

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 yes­ter­day, 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 has seen 91 staff de­part since the be­gin­ning of 2016 as it sold off port­fo­lios of loans at pace.

It has about 250 em­ploy­ees, in­clud­ing 87 staff work­ing on the agency’s pro­gramme to boost home­build­ing among its bor­row­ers. It ex­pects to see its staff num­ber fall by a fur­ther 11 early next year.

“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.

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.

It is ex­pected that HBFI 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.

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