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Recalling the Celtic Tiger

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Edited By Eamon Maher, Eugene O'Brien and Brian Lucey

This book looks at various effects, symptoms and consequences of the period in Irish culture known as the Celtic Tiger. It will trace the critical pathway from boom to bust – and up to the current beginnings of a similar, smaller boom – through events, personalities and products. The short entries offer a sense of the lived experience of this seismic period in contemporary Irish society.

While clearly not all aspects of the period could realistically be covered, the book does contain essential information about the central actors, events, themes, and economic trends, which are discussed in a readable and accessible manner. Each entry is linked to the overall Celtic Tiger phenomenon and its immediate aftermath.

The book also provides a comprehensive account of what happened in this period and will be a factual resource for anyone anxious to discover information on the areas most commonly connected to it. All entries are written by experts in the area. The contributors include broadcasters, economists, cultural theorists, sociologists, literary critics, journalists, politicians and writers, each of whom brings particular insights to some aspect of the Celtic Tiger.

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Bank Lending Policies in the 2004– 2010 Period (Joe Brennan)

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Joe Brennan

Bank Lending Policies in the 2004– 2010 Period

As the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) was preparing a decade ago to take over risky commercial property loans from the nation’s banks, Scott Rankin, then an analyst with stockbroking firm Davy, took out his calculator to work out how much of a discount lenders would have to accept for their assets.

Journalists, like myself, and the wider public were hungry at the time for any clues about prices NAMA would pay to take over the loans. But Rankin – like most analysts, and NAMA itself – proved to be wildly optimistic in his projections. (The loans would end up transferring in 2010 at a 58% discount to their original value – almost twice NAMA’s original estimate.)

However, Rankin did highlight one caveat – the spectre of ‘phantom equity’ – that stood in the way of any analyst’s ability to make such forecasts. The phrase, for me, captured how banks’ lax lending standards during the property boom would come back to haunt them.

While banks would point out during the heady days that they remained prudent in requiring developers to put up equity of between 40%–50% of the size of a development land deal, it often was not in hard cash. ‘It was borrowed on the back of equity tied up in other sites, investment properties and interests,’ said Rankin in the report in July 2009, months before he joined the Department of...

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