NAMA expects to boost its final recovery by as much as €750m by forcing developers to reverse deals that transferred property to wives and other family members, and by securing legal rights over once debt-free assets, the agency has told the Irish Independent.
The National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) previously expected to boost its recoveries by an additional €500m by securing legal rights over such assets.
That target was surpassed in October last year, and managers have now raised their estimate.
It means NAMA is now confident it will secure legal rights – or security – over €750m of additional property assets controlled by its debtors that were not secured when loans were transferred to the agency from the banks.
Securing legal charges over assets makes it much easier to seize and sell off property if debts owed to the agency are not repaid. Two-thirds of the increase is expected to come as NAMA indentifies previously "unencumbered" or debt-free properties owned by the 800 developers with debts to the agency.
Once those assets are identified NAMA can establish a legal claim or charge giving it rights over the properties.
The remaining one-third of cases will come as a result of reversing so-called 'asset transfers', a term used to describe deals where developers signed ownership of properties over to their wives and other family members.
Many of those transfers happened in the period between the end of the property boom in 2008 and the transfer of bank loans to NAMA in 2010.
Last year the agency said that 50 of the 188 developers with the biggest debts to NAMA had transferred assets to family members. Of those, 37 reversed the deals at the agency's request, it said.
Transferring property to family members is not illegal; however, NAMA has powers to seek to reverse transfers through the courts.
Many developers have agreed to reverse such deals as the price of being able to do business with NAMA.
Searches for hidden assets by private investigators has also helped NAMA identify some of the newly secured assets.