Friday, July 31, 2009

Economics 31/07/2009: NAMA Part II

And now slightly more on theat NAMAster:

Remember the levy that the Government dangled in front of the taxpayers as a sign of loss protection or minimization to be built into NAMA. Well, word 'lvey' does not appear in the entire legislation. Not even in a tocken fashion. Not even as a lip service.

And yet, bad and all as this idea might have been, the levy on the banks was announced by Minister Lenihan, repeatedly, as the only means for recouping losses on NAMA. As a friend and colleague remarked, "even that figleaf of taxpayer saving is gone'.

The document reads:
"In making regulations under subsection (1), the Minister may [my emphasis] have regard—
(a) to the rules in relation to State aid and any relevant guidance issued by the Commission of the European Communities [as if he can avoid this under the EU rules], and

(b) in relation to the determination of the long-term economic value of the property comprised in the credit facility that is a bank asset, to—

(i) the extent to which the price or yield of the asset has deviated from the long-term historical average [the half-wits who wrote this don't even understand that our historical averages are so severely skewed by a lengthy bubble in the property markets, that a return to these averages will take well over a decade],

(ii) supply and demand projections by reference to the type of asset and its location,
(iii) macroeconomic projections for growth in the gross domestic product and for inflation,
(iv) demographic projections,
[Who is going to supply these projections? Our forecasters - the DofF, the CB, let alone completely inadequate Forfas and Fas - are so grossly inaccurate in their usual predictions that you might as well use a crystal ball. One good example is the CB - this institution has been frantically issuing new forecasts on a monthly basis in order to catch up with the published forecasts by the private sector.]

(v) land and planning considerations (including national, regional or local authority development or spatial plans) that may exert an influence on the future value of the asset concerned,
(vi) analyses presented by the Minister of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government on the extent to which existing land zoning and planning permissions granted and in force meet or exceed projected growth requirements, and
(vii) analyses presented by the Dublin Transport Office and the National Transport Authority of existing and future transport planning and the associated supply and demand projections for land use.
[As I told the meeting of the Green Party recently, all of this means only one thing - the fig leaf of decorum awarded to the Green Ministers for their singing on the dotted line will see NAMA as a continuation of the development patterns that were based on utterly mad and unsustainable vision of spatial development in Ireland. In effect, the Green Party has lost all and any moral ground to stand on when it signed up to the development model (under NAMA) that cuts across the entire philosophy of the Greens.]

(c) in relation to the determination of the long term economic value of bank assets, to—
(i) the long-term economic value of the property comprised in the security for a credit facility that is a bank asset,
(ii) the net present value of the anticipated income stream associated with the loan asset,
(iii) in the case of rental property, current and projected vacancy rates,
(iv) loan margins,
(v) an appropriate discount rate to reflect NAMA’s cost of funds plus a margin that represents an adequate remuneration to the State that takes account of the risk in relation to the bank assets acquired by NAMA,
(vi) the mark-to-market value of any derivative contracts associated with the bank asset,
(vii) any ancillary security such as personal guarantees and corporate assets,and
(viii) fees reflecting the costs of loan operation, maintenance and enforcement, and

[This lengthy passage tells me right away that NAMA will operate as a banking sector's out of town office. The primacy of taxpayer protection absent in the legislation and the length afforded to the protection of the banks' bottom line is the destruction of the private sector economy on the vast scale. Incidentally, it is also a sealing of banks into servitude to the Exchequer, implying that from the day of NAMA instituion, Bank of Ireland, AIB, IL&P and other participating banks will be Japanese-styled zombies. A short-term pain relief turns a long term cancer!]

I will repeat the list of provisions that must be required before NAMA can be allowed to proceed in every post on NAMA from ehre on:
  • Provisions for taxpayer protection and provision for a taxpayers' oversight board filled with only independent observers, who are not in the employment of NAMA, NTMA, the State or any other party to NAMA undertaking;
  • Complete and comprehensive balance sheet and cost/benefit analysis of the undertaking;
  • Exact upper and lower limits for banks equity the taxpayers will receive in return for NAMA funds and post-NAMA recapitalization funding;
  • The exact procedures for divesting out of the banks shares in 3-5-7 years time with exact legal commitment by the state to disburse any and all surplus funds (over and above the costs) directly to the taxpayers in a form of either banks shares or cash;
  • The formula for imposing a serious haircut (60%+) on banks bond holders, possibly with some sort of a debt for equity swap and a restriction that NAMA cannot purchase any rolled up interest acrued since the latest 'restructuring' of a loan;
  • A recourse to all developers' own assets - applied retroactively to July 2008 when the first noises of a rescue plan started;
  • The list of qualifications for any bank to participate in NAMA, including, but not limited to, the caps on executive compensation at the banks and the requirement to set up a truly independent, veto-wielding risk assessment committee at each bank with a mandatory requirement for a position of a taxpayers' representative on the board that cannot be occupied by a civil servant or anyone who has worked in the industry in the last 10 years;
  • A requirement that risk and credit committees of NAMA include at least 51% majority of independent experts who cannot be employees of the state, NAMA or any toher parties to this undertaking;
  • A condition that the banks must undergo loan book evaluation prior to transfer of any loans to NAMA, the results of which will be made public - on the web - instantaneously - and will impose a requirement on the banks to write down their assets, again before NAMA purchases any of them, by the requisite amounts to balance their own books in line with valuations;
  • A condition that any loan purchased by NAMA be placed on the open market for the period of 2 weeks and that NAMA will not pay any amount in excess of the bids received (if any), with a prohibition for the participating banks to bid on these loans;
  • A condition that every NAMA loan should be publicly disclosed, including its valuations and bids it receives in the auction stage of the process;
  • A stipulation that all and any regulatory authorities (and their senior level employees) that were involved in regulating the banking and housing sector in this country take a mandatory pension cut of 50% and return any and all lump sum funds they collected upon their retirement;
  • A provision for dealing with the speculatively zoned land to be acquired by NAMA, i.e orderly de-zoning of this land and transfer of this land to either public (if no bidders arise) or private use consistent with sustainable agricultural development, environmental improvements, public use or forestry;
  • The measures to prevent banks from beefing up their profit margins through squeezing their preforming customers;
  • The measures to force the banks to reduce their cost bases by laying off surplus workers;
  • The measures for accounting (in a transparent and fully publicly accessible fashion) on a quarterly basis for NAMA operations and the performance of the state-supported banks.
If I forget something, please, let me know...

1 comment:

BlagB said...

Hi Constantin,

I really take your point concerning NAMA. You're also linked to on Keep it up!

All the best,
Bernard @ BlagB.