N. Ireland Politics

Nama moves discussed by NI finance minister

The NI finance minister has met members of the National Assets Management Agency (Nama) to discuss progress.

Sammy Wilson met Nama chairman Frank Daly and Peter Stewart, chairman of Nama's NI Advisory Committee.

He said it was timely as Nama "have just completed the transfer of the second tranche of loans from their participating banks".

Nama was set up by the Irish government to help save the Dublin-based banks which have been crippled by the property crash.

Although Nama is thought of as a way of removing "toxic" loans from the banks it is also taking over good or "performing" development loans - those which are being repaid and earning money.

A total of 360m euros of loans made to Northern Ireland developers have now been transferred to Nama.

Nama said on Monday it had taken on loans with a book value of almost 12bn euros in the second round of loan transfers from the Dublin-based banks.

Speaking after Tuesday's meeting, Mr Wilson said: "The first of the Northern Ireland based loans have now begun the transfer process and this involvement will increase rapidly between now and the end of the year.

"Ultimately loans with a nominal value of approximately 5bn euros will transfer from Northern Ireland and the role of the Northern Ireland Committee will become increasingly important.

"I emphasized the strategic importance of Nama's work for our economy and Nama representatives assured me again that there will be no 'firesale' of assets and that these will be carefully managed over the medium term," Mr Wilson said.

The meeting was the first of what will be regular meetings following the establishment of the Northern Ireland Advisory Committee in May 2010.

Up to 5bn euros of loans, held by 150 institutions and individuals in Northern Ireland, are ultimately expected to move into Nama.

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