Nama chiefs say the agency’s residential housing expertise now includes a team of in-house engineers, quantity surveyors and planners who have the range of skills needed to drive house building.
In the Budget Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe announced the creation of Home Building Finance Ireland (HBFI), a new State lender with €750m from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.
HBFI is being set up to lend to house builders, and will in effect be staffed by Nama.
Nama chairman Frank Daly said his agency expects to sign a service level agreement with HBFI to manage the new fund.
Both Isif and Nama already operate within the wider National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) umbrella.
Once up and running HBFI will lend to house builders on commercial terms, understood to include interest rates of 8pc that are slightly higher than what is currently charged by the main pillar banks for senior debt.
Nama’s CEO Brendan McDonagh said €750m from Isif will fund construction of as many as 6,000 homes. Funds used for house building can be recycled twice in a two year period, he noted, as houses are built and sold.
For Nama, the new role means the agency will be better able to retain staff, including the 87 people working directly in residential lending, he said.
“People who are good will stay on for a few more years,” Brendan McDonagh said.
“The Government has recognised that the skill set here is an asset to the State and put it to use,” Frank Daly said.