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Archive for March 10th, 2012

Whilst NAMA might be plotting its next moves against the “Baron of Ballsbridge”, Sean Dunne who yesterday consented to €184.3m judgment orders in favour of the Agency, on the other side of the pond, a property controversially associated with the Carlow-born developer has come on the market through Sotheby’s International and thepropertypin should be acknowledged here for covering this development.  It should be made clear that Sean has previously denied involvement with the property at 38 Bush Avenue, Belle Haven, Greenwich, Connecticut CT 06830 but it does seem that the property was owned by a trust associated with the Dunnes. Here is a video of the Dunnes being door-stepped at the property under construction in 2011 – they’re clearly not happy at being filmed by a local journalist.

In any event, no 38 was purchased for USD 2m (€1.5m) in April 2010, was subsequently largely demolished and after a nasty little planning battle with the neighbours, a 9,000 sq ft “Olde New Englande”-style mansion with seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms was constructed on the 0.6 acre site. Sotheby’s is offering the property for sale at USD 6,395,000 (€4,873,000) – at USD 718 psf, it’s on the low side compared with recent local sales.

The photographs of the property show a smart two-storey over basement property with an obligatory Irish sun-room tacked onto one side. The Belle Haven suburb of Greenwich has its own private security force and is home to some of the great and good of American society including singer Diana Ross and an army of corporate leaders.

Last year, the Irish Independent reported the Dunnes, or rather a trust operated by a lawyer who is also connected to 38 Bush Avenue, had purchased another property in Connecticut – 42 Bote Road, Stanwich, Connecticut, CT 06830, and indeed, there was speculation the Dunnes had bought a third property.

What does all of this mean for NAMA’s judgment orders? Difficult to know, but presumably that is why NAMA engaged “asset tracing” specialists with experience of operating in the United States.

There is a feature blogpost on the Dunnes and their American adventures here, and there is also a blogpost on the judgment orders here.

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Figures released by the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) yesterday show that in the month of February 2012, the reliance by Irish banks on central bank funding fell substantially for the second month in a row and is now back to levels last seen in August/September 2010. Overall central bank funding fell from €138.2bn in January 2012 to €132.3bn at the end of February 2012, a monthly decline of  €5.8bn, and this follows a monthly decline of €13.3bn in  January 2012. Central bank funding at the end of February comprised funding directly from the ECB of €87.1bn, down €5.5bn from €92.6bn in January, and funding from the CBI understood to be Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) of €45.2bn which represents a small decline of €0.3bn from the €45.5bn in January.

What does this mean for Irish banking and the wider economy? If our banks are to return to some degree of normality, they will rely more on deposits from customers and lending from other banks. So today’s figures indicate (though don’t absolutely prove) that deposits and inter bank lending are increasing which suggests good news.

The figures from the CBI cover the period to 24th February 2012 and therefore exclude the second Longer Term Refinancing Operation on 29th February 2012 which saw €530bn pumped into EU banks by the ECB. This funding was for three years and an interest rate which is presently 1% per annum. Ironically, it seems as if Irish banks didn’t take a significant proportion of the LTRO funds as it seems that our NAMA and recapitalisation processes might have largely rescued our banks. Remember our banks had about a quarter of all ECB non-standard assistance during the past couple of years. Well done Europe/ECB for coming to the rescue of European banks after the Irish nation has borne the burden of our domestic banks!

We will get deposit information on Irish banks for February 2012, at the end of March. Deposit analysis for Irish banks for January 2012 is available here.

 

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Despite the NAMA chairman Frank Daly telling an Oireachtas committee on Thursday that the “the majority” of NAMA developers were in fact cooperating with the Agency, foreclosure activity continues apace with Iris Oifigiuil today confirming that the Agency has appointed receivers to two companies, both of whose group companies have seen previous NAMA foreclosure action.

First up is Albion Talbot Limited, a company in the Dublin Clare Street-based Albion Enterprises group which was subjected to NAMA foreclosure action last week.

And secondly NAMA has moved on another Alastair Jackson company, Eassda Ireland Limited, formerly known as Keygo Properties Limited, having Peter Stapleton of Lisney appointed as a property receiver. It is understood the property in question is the unfinished Gleann Riada estate in Longford, whose residents might welcome NAMA’s involvement and potential funding for completing the estate.

Remember you can see a comprehensive list of Irish foreclosure actions by NAMA here and in this regularly updated spreadsheet.

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