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NAMA defends €200,000 a year salaries for indebted builders

The country’s most indebted developers whose loans have been transferred to the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) are earning salaries of up to €200,000 a year or more and the practice has been defended by top executives.

The chairman of NAMA Frank Daly told an Oireachtas Committee that the average rate is €75,000 to €100,000 a year but added the practice of paying salaries is the best way to ensure that billions of euros worth of loans are repaid.

Three top developers owe NAMA more than €2bn each, it emerged earlier.

It is understood that two developers are on the higher €200,000 a year salaries.

"With several billion of taxpayers’ money at stake, you’re trying to get the best return by getting the person who we believe is best placed to get that return," Mr Daly told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform.

"It’s a hard decision, and one we agonise over, but it’s a realistic commercial decision at the end of the day."

He said the alternative option was to appoint receivers to manage developers’ assets which could be as costly as €180 an hour.

Mr Daly also said the agency is committed to chasing all developers’ loans.

He also said that 10pc to 15pc of developers are not playing ball with the agency.

The agency also has 8,000 apartments and 2,000 houses on its books with few buyers in the market.

National Treasury Management Agency boss John Corrigan, who was also speaking at the Committee, defended bonuses paid to his staff last year at an average of just under €8,000.