Bankers to face '10 years in prison' if they keep loan details from NAMA

Emmet Oliver Deputy Business Editor

Bank executives have been threatened with up to 10 years in prison if they do not provide "accurate and complete" information about loans worth less than €20m that are due to go to NAMA.

After huge controversy last year about how much banks knew about their own loan books, a new NAMA (Amendment) Bill includes penalties of up to 10 years' imprisonment if executives do not make a full disclosure about loans below the €20m threshold. About 20,000 of these loans are likely to go over to the agency.

The bill will not be signed into law by the current government, but is likely to become law under the new government as the IMF/EU have demanded that loans below this threshold must transfer so banks can shrink their balance sheets.

The loans are believed to have a book value of less than €16bn, although the actual value will not be known until banks assess their loan books officially.


To ensure the speedy transfer of so many loans, the transfer process will be speeded up and the loans will be valued in "pools" rather than individually, a Department of Finance spokesman said.

"The discounts to be applied by NAMA will be based on the experience of NAMA transfers to date by reference to the geographical location of any land securing the loan,'' the spokesman said.

This means that different discounts will be set for loans on property in the Republic of Ireland, the North and Britain.

A key to what discounts will be applied is whether land is undeveloped, developed to less than 30pc completion or developed to greater than 30pc completion.

The bill also provides that the Finance Minister, after consulting NAMA, may make further adjustments to the discount rate to account for cases where there is an increased likelihood of repayment of these loans compared to that of comparable bank assets previously acquired from the same bank.

An adjustment may also reflect enforcement and due diligence costs on these assets not being borne by NAMA.

In view of the number of loans and their geographical spread, management of loans is to be outsourced to AIB and Bank of Ireland.

Both banks will manage the loans under "performance agreements", which will include incentives to make sure the loans remain performing.

The number of smaller loans going to the agency means the banks will have to accept more subordinated bonds than senior bonds.

"The bill will also see incre-ased burden-sharing by the banks in respect of these loans through the issue by NAMA of subordinated bonds comprising 9.9pc of the total acquisition value," the spokesman added.