This is actually quite an achievement. I know the SBP published Jim Power’s “report” on NAMA but to recover this kind of money on loan assets in a short space of time is good going. People forget that the “assets” NAMA bought were not the properties themselves but loans (basically fixed income claims on those assets). The problem with a loan (or a fixed nominal claim) is that it can go down in value if the real property assets it is secured on falls in value but it does not necessarily go up in value to the same extent if the value of the real property asset goes up. It is NOT the same thing as actually owning the property.
Power conveniently glossed over this (at least in the SBP article) by trying to compare NAMA’s performance with commercial property itself and with equity indices, which always have greater upside than a pool of loans. Neither NAMA nor the banks who made the loans ever had access to the full upside of the underlying real assets (because the loans to the really good assets will get repaid at face or bought back while the bad loans will go to zero). Sure they bought at 50pc discount to face value, but the shitty lending and shitty documentation impaired a huge amount of value in many cases.
NAMA was originally structured to hold the development loans of the Irish banking system at a time when it was still believed the State could avoid nationalizing the banks themselves and avoid the IMF. The idea was to isolate what was thought to be the worst part of the banking system and save the rest (and FF).
In the end the banks were rotten in a whole load of other ways and FF could not be saved from 2011. However, the crew we elected in their place chose to behave and sell a story about a certain kind of recovery which required amnesia, and hanging around to recover “long term economic value” (a concept many Pinsters were pretty sniffy about but whose correctness is actually proven by the vulture funds’ success) was not part of that story. So FG moved the goalposts for NAMA and set objectives that were far more short term in nature. NAMA therefore had to sell earlier than originally envisioned to realise cash. While they might be criticised for selling good stuff early, its worth remembering that selling the UK stuff for example, in 2013 - 2015 avoided Brexit (a huge number of loans were in sterling or secured on sterling assets). And they had limited rights to the upside in any event.
The electorate only partly bought FG’s story, leading to the comic opera government we currently have. But in fairness to the 200-400 folks in NAMA, they mostly obeyed the diktats of the elected masters and remarkably few appear to have been suborned so far. The developers who want to bitch now were all free to exit NAMA as soon as they repaid their loans. Any time they paid back in full, they were free to go and do as they pleased. Yes, having a lender run your strategy is suboptimal. Don’t borrow so much next time. It’s a lesson lots of business people learn, not just developers.