Earlier today, Ireland’s government announced additional details of its plan to acquire property loans from struggling banks in order to bring additional liquidity and stability to the troubled Irish financial system . The government first outlined this plan in April, when Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihan announced that the Irish government would create a National Asset Management Agency, or "NAMA", which would purchase up to €90 billion in property loans.
As Lenihan explained today, however, the actual book value of the loans anticipated to be purchased would be closer to €77 billion, and the government would purchase the loans at a 30% discount. Under the plan, NAMA would pay five Irish banks approximately €54 billion in government-backed bonds in exchange for the loans. Only 40% of the developers to whom the loans were issued are currently making loan repayments.
Lenihan claimed that with even a moderate economic recovery, the agency will break even financially over the next ten years. Opponents, however, argue that taxpayers will be left with severe losses, and that the bailout will only help the banks and developers who caused the underlying financial problems in the first place. The bill will likely face significant opposition in parliament, as the ruling Fianna Fáil party does not currently have a majority.