Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Economics 26/08/09: Nama debate gone dirty

I have missed today's debate between Alan Ahearne and Brian Lucey, although as far as I understand Dr Ahearne failed to actually face Brian in this debate.

Having heard the 'debate' afterward and having obtained a letter from one of the Green Party parliamentary party members to a senior ranking disillusioned member of the party in which a venerable Green legislator claims, as Alan did today, that academics commenting on Nama with a critical perspective are not fully appreciative of complexities of Nama and are not offering any solutions to the porblems Nama is supposed to tackle, I can say the following:

I stand by my original estimates of losses expected from Nama. Alan Ahearne's quoted figures are based on thin air, as Dr Ahearne has failed to produce any evidence to support his assumptions or estimations, while my (and Brian Lucey's) balancesheet for Nama has been in public domain and under public scrutiny for over two months now,

Points raised by myself, Brian Lucey and Karl Whelan (and some others as well) about the lack of safe guards, stop0loss rules, transparency, accountability and ownership of Nama and its assets are not academic, they are as real as Dr Ahearne's salary in the employment of the Minister. Nay, they are actually more real, because families who will be paying for Nama deserve to be the rightful owners of Nama assets and deserve to have full access to Nama operations,

As far as I know, neither Dr Ahearne, nor his masters have offered any, I repeat, any clarifications as to the amendments they plan to propose for Nama legislation. In contrast, everyone can read my proposal for Nama3.0, Karl Whelan's proposals for changing Nama legislation, Patrick Honohan's ideas on how Nama can be fixed and altered, and so on. None of us have been paid for doing so, unlike Dr Ahearne who, having not failed to accuse us all of being 'academic' has (a) called us 'colleagues' (surely this makes his musings on the subject also 'academic', and (b) has managed to produce no new ideas on Nama beyond what his masters produced in the proposed legislation.

I am having a very hard time understanding how myself and other independent observers of Nama can be labelled 'academic' when the questions we raised about Nama are both immediately relevant to the issue of Nama operations and are countered from the opposing side by the nonsense of unsubstantiated numbers quoting and references to us 'not appreciating the complexities'?

Here are couple of questions sent to me by one senior policy person in Ireland with my quick replies to them:

Q: Apparently, in one of the debates, a pro-Nama person suggested that Banks nationalisation cannot occur before Nama is paid for because, while the ECB will do the swap for Irish government bonds as a reasonable discount, they will not give the same deal for a nationalised bank. Or if they do help us, they will insist on their pound of flesh i.e.they will do an IMF on us and we will lose all economic sovereignty. My questions about that are... a) is that really true...

A: It is true in so far as the ECB lending window is for private banks that are solvent. However, it is a technicality, since the ECB will have to offer lending facility to the governments as well. It simply has not been confronted with such a prospect before, but hey, there is always a first one.

b) if Irish government put their shares in Trust for taxpayers as per Nama3.0 - hey presto no link to government - does that get over ECBproblem?

A: Yes, it does, further, recall that I have argued that (steps 3 and 4) the Government can provide for private ownership diluting its own share holding in the banks, so the banks will be owned by a trust (Nama), plus two large groups of private investors, with the Government nowhere to be seen. We can even go further and include as shareholders in Nama some developers/investors by offering them shares in Nama in return for equity in their development projects written against the loans.


doubleglaze said...

Thanks and well done for all your excellent work, Constantin. Good to see non-vested interests looking out for the ordinary Irish taxpayer.

John Pardway said...

I see in his hasty and clumsy response today to the Irish Times letter, Alan Ahearne says that Nama must consider "the original purchase price" of the property. What the heck does that have to do with the current market value? The original purchase price of Manhattan was a few pairs of beads.

Charlberg said...

“The loans had been used to buy property valued at €120bn during the property boom. If you think average property prices have fallen 50pc, then properties have come back to €60bn. So what would you pay for the €90bn of loans? You would pay €60bn.”
26.8.2009 Aherne in an interview with RTE radio.

What extraordinary maths! Internationally, 70% gearing against collateral is considered prudent lending practice. As Dr. Aherne acknowledges the collateral value of the portfolio is €60 billion, it is implicit that the highest price NAMA could prudently pay for the loans is €42bn as opposed to the €90 bn being requested by the banks or the €60bn. proposed by Dr. Aherne.

Incidentally, from what fiscal resources is Mr. Tricet to buy €60bn of dead-beat debt that can never be repaid which Mssrs. Lenihan & Aherne want to foist on the ECB?

charlberg said...

Obvious point re. NAMA: It would cost the Irish taxpayer less to buy a Swiss banking giant such as UBS or Credit Suisse. Does it strike you that the executive boards of the Irish banks are likely to build anything remotely resembling these global titans in the coming years?

The Galway Tent said...

Lets make it nice and simple.

Arrange two rooms.

Put the Gruenen in one. Put the Soldiers of Destiny in the other. Give them crayons and some paper (or spreadsheets if they can do de sums).

Tell them to sell us - with crayon sums fully worked out - why we should pay even ten million Euro for their 450 million scam called the Irish Glass Bottle Site in Ringsend.

word verification on this comment is very apt!
Its "triconj" as in triple con