Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Wilson in talks on Republic’s ‘bad bank’ agency

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has met with his Irish Counterpary Brian Lenihan to discuss the implementation of the Republic’s “bad bank” the National Asset Management Agency.

It is the third time since September 2009 that Minister Wilson has met with the Irish Finance Minister to discuss NAMA, which has been set up to buy and manage toxic property loans held by the Irish banks.

NAMA is set to pay €54bn in government bonds for commercial property loans that went bad in the crisis and which have a book value of €77bn. Around £4.8bn of the loans are from Northern |Ireland.

The aim is to take toxic assets off the balance sheets of the Republic’s main banks and encourage them to free up credit for businesses and homebuyers.

After the meeting Mr Wilson said: “I had a very constructive meeting with Minister Lenihan. We discussed the implementation of NAMA and I sought clarification on a number of issues relating to the impact on participating banks with a Northern Irish presence as well as local businesses that may be drawn into the process.

“Minister Lenihan assured me that a full register of Northern Irish loans being transferred to NAMA will be available shortly and that there will not be a ‘firesale’ of Northern Ireland based assets.”

The Minister added: “It is absolutely crucial that our banks and businesses have clarity on what the NAMA process means for them. I, and my officials, will continue to liaise with the Department of Finance in the Republic of Ireland to ensure that Northern Ireland is in no way unfairly disadvantaged.”

He said the banking sectors in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland would play a crucial part in economic recovery.

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