Tuesday 20 March 2018

Nama says NI debtors were not cooperating with agency

Nama is housed in the Treasury Building in Dublin. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Nama is housed in the Treasury Building in Dublin. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

The National Assets Management Agency (Nama) has said just 15pc of debtors involved in the controversial Project Eagle portfolio were cooperating with the agency at the time of the sale of its €1.6bn loan book.

Speaking before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Nama’s head of residential delivery John Collison said the agency’s engagement with debtors linked to the Northern Ireland loan book was difficult.

Mr Collison said Nama struggled to get details from Northern Ireland debtors on rental income from properties and general documentation relating to the loans which were taken over by the agency after the collapse of the banking sector.

Cooperation with debtors in the Project Eagle portfolio was at 15pc while debtors involved in the rest of the Nama loan book was at 28pc.

Mr Collison said the top 60pc to 70pc of the properties in the Northern Ireland loan book had potential but the rest of the portfolio would be difficult to sell.

Under questioning from Fine Gael TD Noel Rock, the senior Nama official said he was “convinced” that if the agency had not sold the Project Eagle loan book there would have been a lot more enforcement orders against debtors and this would have reduced the value of the loan book.

Mr Collinson described the row between Nama and Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) over the Project Eagle deal as a “profession disagreement”.

A C&AG review of the Northern Ireland loan book found Nama lost €200m on the sale of the assets.

Nama has rejected this assessment.

Mr Collison also said US investment firm Pimco had asked Nama to sell the loan book off market in 2014.

However, the firm was left “disappointed” when Nama decided to put the portfolio to the open market.

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