The Financial Times devoted a substantial amount of column inches to NAMA, describing the bad bank scheme as a “mixed bag – good in parts but less so in others”.
The paper said while the plan contained some “admirably crunchy elements” in legally obliging the banks to dispose of troubled assets, it is not the “once and for all” solution promised by Brian Lenihan.
“Although Ireland’s finance minister, Brian Lenihan, promised a ‘once and for all’ solution, the deal leaves open the possibility of a subsequent levy on the banks if NAMA itself makes a loss,” the paper states.
The Guardian also devoted some space to dealing with the issue and carried a headline warning: “Irish toxic loans are half as big as the economy, bank bailout reveals.”
Henry McDonald and Elena Moya pointed out the state will become the majority shareholder in Allied Irish Banks, “as the Dublin government attempts to clear up the mess from years of reckless lending that capsized the country’s economy”.
Like much of the international press coverage, The Guardian also points to Mr Lenihan’s strong language when unveiling the plan.
The Finance Minister launched a scathing attack on senior bankers who had created a “horrifying” situation for the banking system.
The paper outlined Mr Lenihan’s description of the banks behaviour as “truly shocking... our worst fears have been surpassed. They played fast and loose with the economic interests of this country”.
On the other side of the Atlantic, US newspapers were also taking an interest in our economic woes. The New York Times said banks had been hit with a “hefty penalty” and an extra €22 billion was needed to recover “from a property collapse that was worse than feared”.
The paper said while many in the investment community have praised NAMA, the opposition parties described the move as “one of the biggest gambles in the nation’s history”.
The Wall Street Journal ran with the headline: “Ireland digs deeper to repair banks.”
The newspaper commented that the acquisition of toxic assets from Irish lenders came at a much deeper discount than analysts had expected, “underscoring just how damaged the portfolios of many banks had become in the wake of the financial crisis and real estate collapse”.