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News : Irish Last Updated: May 25, 2009 - 9:40:43 AM

Irish financial institutions to provide loan book details to NTMA; Central Bank says property-related loans fall to 61% of total private debt
By Finfacts Team
May 22, 2009 - 8:04:58 AM

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The six Irish guaranteed financial institutions have to provide by Monday, a breakdown of their development loan books, showing the top borrowers, as part of the ongoing process of establishing the "bad bank," NAMA (National Asset Management Agency). The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) have requested a detailed breakdown of the €60 billion in development loans and related loans of €20-€30 billion across the banking system. Data from the Central Bank on Thursday showed that "real estate activities" loans (excluding mortgages and construction sectors) had risen by 7.7 per cent or €654m, to €90.4bn, in the first quarter of 2009, which is understood resulted from the rolling up interest on loans. Property-related loans amounted to 61 per cent of total loans compared with 65 per cent in 2008.

The NTMA, which will be responsible for NAMA, is reported to be seeking  up-to-date information on the toxic loans to determine the debts of the top 50-75 borrowers.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan is planning to establish a steering committee comprising the NTMA, the Department of Finance and the Attorney General.

NAMA is expected to focus on the loans of the largest borrowers at the outset.

The financial institutions will create new companies to administer the loans for NAMA though the agency will manage the day-to-day decisions.

Last week, Michael Somers, the NTMA head, told an Oireachtas committee, that it wouldn't be feasible for the NTMA to replicate the functions of up to 5,000 staff at the finance firms.

The Central Bank said on Thursday in its sectoral report on Irish credit in the first quarter of 2009, that the trend of slower credit growth intensified during Q1 2009, amid a broad tightening of credit standards and subdued credit demand as economic conditions remained difficult.

Twelve out of fifteen economic sectors experienced lower annual rates of increase during the first quarter of 2009 than in the same quarter in 2008. In particular, the annual rates of increase in credit to sectors such as construction and real estate have declined substantially.

The Bank said taken together, the annual rate of increase in credit to these two sectors has now declined for eleven consecutive quarters, from 63.7 per cent in Q2 2006 to just 2.6 per cent in Q1 2009. Excluding property-related lending and financial intermediation, all other lending actually declined on an annual basis by 1.4 per cent in Q1 2009, compared with an annual increase of 12.5 per cent recorded in the same period of 2008.

There was a sharp drop in the level of buy-to-let mortgages and re-mortgaging activity, while the average mortgage value has dipped by 17% from the same quarter a year ago, reflecting the fall in property prices.

During the quarter, mortgage lending to homebuyers increased by €607m, or roughly half the level extended during the last quarter of 2008. This left growth in mortgages for a main residence at just 5pc, or less than half the 11pc growth recorded in the first quarter of 2008.

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