NAMA Business Plan

NAMA have now published their business plan (announcement here). I haven’t looked at it in full detail but a few comments are worth making at this point.

First, it’s not much of a plan. It doesn’t bother trying to update the draft plan‘s year by year analysis of cashflows. As such, the scenario analysis, such as it is, seems like it will be pretty useless to those of trying to assess its credibility.

Second, in relation to Monday’s leaks, the prize for accuracy goes to the Indo’s John Mulligan who correctly reported the new information on cash flows was that NAMA now estimate that 25% of the loans are cash flow producing, which was more accurate than the Times report of about 20 per cent. To be specific, the plan says:

the draft Plan assumption was that 40% of acquired loans would be income-producing; however, the level of debtor impairment evident from the first tranche loan transfers suggests that 25% may be a more reasonable estimate. Similarly, the actual LTV ratios that have become evident during the Tranche 1 due diligence process have been higher than those indicated by institutions last autumn.

There are two possibilities in relation to the difference between the current and draft business plans in relation to their assessment of loan quality. Either the information provided to the government by the banks last year prior to the passing of the NAMA bill was highly inaccurate (speculate yourself as to why this might have been) or the loan portfolio is deteriorating rapidly.   It would be useful for NAMA to clarify the relative contributions of these two factors.

Third, I find it interesting that when NAMA CEO Brendan McDonagh appeared before the Oireachtas Finance Committee on April 13, NAMA had already paid for most of the first tranche of loans. And yet, at the time, McDonagh said that “we estimate the figure is probably closer to one third, that 33% of the loans are cashflow producing.”

It might be possible that the discrepancy between this estimate and the current estimate is accounted for by new information about Anglo’s loans, which were still being analysed when McDonagh gave his one-third estimate. That said, why it should be difficult for a government to find out how many people are repaying the NAMA-bound loans beats me (a point that applies doubly when the bank in case has been nationalised bank.) Less palatable is the idea that we are finding new nasty surprises about loans after we have already paid for them.

Report of Expert Group on Mortgage Arrears and Personal Debt

An interim report of the Expert Group on Mortgage Arrears and Personal Debt has been released by the Department of Finance. The report is here. Press statements are here and here.

Irish economy and climate change

Climate policy in Ireland and Europe is important to the economy of Ireland, and I will continue to blog on that. I have not posted much lately, which is because nothing much has happened (except for a series of non-conclusive international and European meetings).

Most aspects of climate change are not particularly relevant to the Irish economy. Although some frequent visitors to this site share my interest in these matters, the discussion is better placed elsewhere. My adventures in IPCC land are discussed here, but I’ll also use VOX, Klimazwiebel and Pielke Jr for issues on climate change economics, science, and policy, respectively.

Are One Third of NAMA’s Loans Producing Cash? No.

You might remember that a few months ago, NAMA CEO Brendan McDonagh appeared before the Oireachtas Finance Committee and told them that one third of NAMA’s assets are cashflow producing. I noted at the time (based on the information in bank annual reports) that this didn’t seem to me to be correct, with the likely figure being a good bit lower. Now, the media are leaking details of NAMA’s new and improved business plan and we are being told that “only about 20 per cent of the loans are generating any income, that is repayments or interest payments.”

This raises an interesting question: Was Mister McDonagh misinformed in April when he said that one-third of the loans were cashflow producing or have 13 percent of the loans stopped producing income between April and July? Neither answer is particularly palatable.

As for “In a worst-case scenario, Nama could end up losing several hundred million euro” one really has to wonder do the people who put this plan together know what a worst-case scenario means.  However, coming from the folks who brought us the 80% full recovery scenario, I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised.

External Surveillance of Irish Fiscal Policy During the Boom

In Irish Economy Note No. 11,  Jim O’Leary writes on the external surveillance of Irish fiscal policy during the boom.