CIF and NAMA were never going to be happy bedfellows.  The former represent the interests of developers and builders, the latter is charged with relieving the banks of property loans to try and address the banking crisis, and to manage and offload those loans on behalf of the state and taxpayers.  Whilst most citizens view NAMA as a bailout to developers, keeping them afloat when most of them would have gone to the wall a couple of years ago, CIF views NAMA as a predator that is trying to radically overhaul and restructure the building industry, is trying to gain at the developers’ expense and country’s best interests, and is a punative instrument that is inflicting more harm than good on the property sector.

As reported in some of the papers today (here and here), Lombard Street Research have just published a report commissioned by CIF, attacking the rationale and practices of NAMA (which makes interesting reading).  NAMA has responded by arguing that the developers are living in denial and they need to wake up to the new realities of property development and the market. Whilst there is undoubtedly a number of issues concerning the formation and operation of NAMA, CIF’s principle problem is that there is little public sentiment for their views given that they’re clearly a vested interest who seem to care for little else other than the interests of its members (which they try to spin as, what is good for us, is good for the country – the same as they did all through the boom).  From NAMA’s perspective it is finding its work tough because the banks and developers seem very reluctant to work with it, they are economical with the truth, are slow in coming forward with documentation and workable business plans, and are clearly more interested in their own self-interests than acting as good citizens in dealing with the present crisis.  No doubt the spat will continue to run and run.  There are unlikely to be any winners and ultimately citizens will pick up part of the tab.  Sounds about par given the history of the crisis so far.

Rob Kitchin

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