Significantly this time, reporters from the paper of record, the Irish Times and State-broadcaster, RTE were allowed sit in on the court proceedings at the High Court this morning where certain directions were sought and granted in respect of Anglo Irish Banks and Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS). RTE is reporting on proceedings. This contrasts with the controversial exclusion of Irish Times journalists at a hearing before Christmas when certain orders were requested in respect of AIB.
Last week, a restructuring plan for both zombie institutions was sent to the European Commission and although a formal decision has not been issued by the Commission, it was reported that Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia was pleased with the plan (fifth time’s a charm following the previous Anglo restructuring plan submissions).
The main outcome from this morning’s proceedings was the direction to the NTMA to auction off (“invite tenders” according to the NTMA press release) the deposit books of Anglo and INBS which were reported two weeks ago to contain €18bn of deposits (“less than “ €14bn at Anglo and €4bn at INBS). There is a further press briefing here from the Department of Finance. The Wall Street Journal is incorrectly reporting that NAMA will undertake the auction – the paper seems to be confusing NAMA (National Asset Management Agency which manages €90bn of property related loans) with the NTMA (National Treasury Management Agency which manages the national debt, the pension reserve and has overall responsibility for NAMA as well as some ancillary functions).
Lastly it is stressed by both the Department of Finance and the NTMA that this direction does not affect the security of depositors who can withdraw their funds at any time including during the auction process.