Business Irish

Sunday 23 July 2017

NAMA to register thousands of land loans for first time

Authority faces huge logistical challenge in processing assets bought from banks as move opens up agency to outside scrutiny

Emmet Oliver Deputy Business Editor

NAMA has decided to register thousands of development land loans it has bought from the banks with the Land Registry, posing a huge logistical challenge for the authorities, the Irish Independent has learnt.

NAMA is not obliged to register the loans, but it has agreed with the Property Registration Authority that the ownership of all loans secured by land will be disclosed and filed with the authority.

The registration will be done by giving acquisition schedules to the authority, which will then use this information to register NAMA's interest in vast land tracts in Ireland.

The move to publicly register its interest in such a large number of assets will -- indirectly -- open up the operations of NAMA to more outside scrutiny.

A special team was recently set up by the authority to handle the challenge posed by so many registrations.

NAMA has in the last year become the largest single landowner in the country, with its portfolio dwarfing that of the Government and the Catholic Church.

In an indication of the challenge it faces, the Property Registration Authority, which oversees the Land Registry and the Registry of Deeds, is expecting to give 10,000 "dealing numbers" to NAMA as part of the processing of the loans.

Charges

Dealing numbers are given when a property is awaiting registration.

The charges over the properties will be in the name of National Asset Loan Management Limited. If NAMA withdraws or abandons a charge, staff at the authority are to be informed. All NAMA-related issues have to be passed to division managers at the organisation.

NAMA is ramping up loan transfers as it heads toward a deadline of February for all tranches to have moved over.

However, the complexity of its work has increased with the EU/IMF/ECB demanding that loans worth less than €20m also be moved over.

This is likely to stretch NAMA's resources even further, putting an extra 20,000 loans into the agency. The loans will be coming from AIB and Bank of Ireland and will include a large number of syndicate loans where solicitors, doctors and gardai are the original borrowers.

It was estimated at the time of EU/IMF agreement that the extra loans to be transferred to Nama would amount to about €16bn.

However, the Department of Finance said recently the value would be lower than this as "associated loans" would not be transferring.

The management of these loans will be outsourced to the two banks, under performance agreements.

Irish Independent

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