September 29, 2014

Paddy is easy pickings for the foreign vultures

Posted in Sunday Business Post · 65 comments ·

I woke up on Friday thinking we must be back to the good times. Morning Ireland was gushing about rising property prices, the ruling party is back to blatant cronyism and there was a mega cocaine bust off the south coast.

If anything sums up 2006, it’s property porn, cronyism and cocaine! It feels like it again, but this time it’s different.

This time, we have a kind of boom, but Irish people aren’t allowed to play. We are having an Irish boom without the Irish, and the best qualification for entry into the Irish recovery is not to be Irish.

The banks that are exiting Ireland are offering up their portfolios of loans to foreign vulture funds that have no interest in staying in this country.

Here’s what’s happening. European interest rates are going to zero because Europe’s economy is a mess. I know this isn’t a technical term, but bear with me. This slumping EU economy is causing the euro to plummet against the dollar.

Meanwhile, the American economy grew by 4.6 per cent in the second quarter, so the dollar is going upwards. I was in California last week and the place is flying, the dollar is going to keep going up.

So if you are an American vulture fund what do you do?

You borrow in euro, even though you are American, and you watch your borrowing cost fall as the euro exchange rate falls. Then you take this “free” money and you go to Ireland, where the locals have no credit and you buy up bundles of loans from their government – the very people who are supposed to be protecting the financial interest of the Irish people.

Remember Nama – an agent of the state – was supposed to get credit going? Well, it is getting credit going all right – but it is foreign credit! And Nama is pleased about how funds are “positioned” in Ireland. Nice word “positioned”, it conjures up an image doesn’t it?

We are pawns in the global credit cycle. The vulture capitalists know this but are too clever to admit it and the Irish political class don’t see it. We should be lamenting, but we are expected to celebrate the fact that Irish-based banks are selling their assets to foreigners at a discount that will be sold back to Paddies at a premium. Great craic, isn’t it?

Most vulture funds have a rule called the three-thirty rule.

This means they buy and hold for a maximum of three years and once they make 30 per cent they are out. This is their twist and this is why properties in Greenwich, Connecticut are a wee bit on the pricey side.

Listen, I don’t blame the funds. This is what they are mandated to do. They have to make as much lucre as they can for themselves and their shareholders. The global system is rigged, they are on the top, they fund the political campaigns and they get the codes written to suit their interests. If the “hopey-changey” Obama couldn’t change this, who can?

So the vultures, having bought up the glittering swanky office prizes in Dublin – and with various geniuses heralding their brilliance even though it was nothing more than having the access to capital at a time when our country was on the canvas – are now delving deeper into the economic carcass.

Deep inside the financial entrails are the loans of small and medium-sized businesses, the property loans of petrol station owners, publicans and undertakers. The vultures love this type of soft tissue.

As revealed in this paper today, the loans of more than 4,000 small and medium sized businesses are set to be sold to vulture funds in the coming weeks, following the decision by Danske Bank to sell its entire SME loan book.

The sale, the largest of its kind ever in Ireland, will effectively mean that thousands of small businesses will come under the control of vulture funds.

The strategy of the funds is to buy as cheaply as possible and sweat the asset until the yield on the property rises. Once the yield or the income of the property rises, they can re-rate the price of the property upwards. In finance this is almost formulaic. But in reality it is far from a formula.

Re-rating the property value upwards at a time of low inflation will involve putting up rents, squeezing the owners – who are pretty much bust and may have one business (a pub, say) which is throwing off just enough cash to pay the interest on the property. The notion of forbearance might not be something the vultures are entirely comfortable with.

However difficult the plight of the individual owners may be, the concerning issue for all of us is what happens to the national balance sheet when this process is over?

The first thing to accept is that the natural owners of Irish property are Irish people, not people who summer on Long Island.

Who will buy these assets from the three-thirty vulture funds? We will, of course. We will sell Ireland to foreigners at a discount and buy Ireland back at a premium!

And who will finance the purchases at 30 per cent above where we are now?

The newly operational Irish banks, of course! And the vultures will fly off, having sold up to Paddy.

A crisis that began with the Irish banks leveraged on expensive Irish property will end with more or less the same Irish banks leveraged to expensive Irish property.

How does that make you feel?

  1. Oasis of Nothingness and Bullshit

    I was in a jungle in Borneo with Jaheb and I was told to remain quiet and not to move and I did, I mean I did make noise and out from the bush a proverbial fly appeared and flew away .This was not suppose to happen because the noise of its wings causes the volcano to erupt after a few days and destroy the surrounding lands.And it did and the lands were destroyed .Everything was destroyed .

    I am reminded about the Late Late Show and when Old Gaybo would announce that’ there was one for everyone in the audience’ .This Mantra was repeated every week and today this is continued by his successor .Today this broadcaster sues a bank to stop calling in loans .And everyone now who have business bank loans may have vulture discounters as their Over Lords demanding high premiums .Nothing is given out for free .

    Lets stop the Vodooism of this useless rhetoric in future and nail our intent on the door of RTE .This Opium of the national senses will continue to the next generation …and thereafter if this ritual continues .

    • Deco

      +1 John.

      The public discourse is controlled. Just look at the panel in the MF show on Pravda. Most days, they are all living off the taxpayer, or private organizations that suck off the taxpayer.

      And they never care, except to keep the money rolling in. At other people’s expense.

    • pmortell

      You seemed to be about to make a comment worth reading and then it got lost. What is your point?

  2. “The global system is rigged,”

    Well yes it is but the narrative starts in the middle not at the beginning.

    What about a discussion on the global fiat money system where this all starts. The fact that the elite families such as the Rothschilds et al control the issuance of credit to the whole world is not worth talking about it seems.

    The fact that California is booming or anywhere else is because of extended credit. all is based on increased debt. The poor are affected first and finally all are strangled and destroyed. Ireland is a low man on the totem pole.

    The only way out is to have ones own national currency as advocated by many. Issued from treasury at no debt or interest and replace the banker owned fiat currency.

    If it is not done voluntarily the result will be revolution because of poverty and degradation. On a personal basis get rid of non productive debt and obtain hard assets. Then you will not be as broke as your neighbour!!The same needs to be done nationally.

    • Deco

      Economic policy based on the “success” of a Ponzi scheme model.

      Actually, it has been creeping in since the 1980s. The PDs adopted it as their economic philosophy, when Harney declared “we must not talk ourselves into a recession2 in the aftermath of the Dot Com Crash. So the media, and the moneyed interests talked about an endless property/debt driven boom instead.

      And we know where it ended up. In a disaster.

  3. Colin

    Subscribe. Maybe it will now?

  4. Pat Flannery

    The difference between California and Ireland is information. Californians understand how their system works, the Irish do not.

    There are many reasons for this but the most fundamental is the Catholic education most Irish receive. A good Catholic learns to accept what they are told and not question their betters. Irish children are taught subservience from day one. It never leaves them.

    American schoolchildren start every day with their hand on the hearts with “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” while Irish schoolchildren start their day with the “Hail Mary”.

    For the rest of their lives Irish people remain bereft of any concept of civic cohesion. They are easy prey for vultures of all kinds, foreign, homegrown, church and secular.

    • ‘pledge allegiance to the flag’ haha, what a joke mate.

      They can stick their pledge, and their Hail Mary, where the sun doesn’t shine. It’s merely one form of brainwashing in place of another.

      I wouldn’t pledge allegiance to anywhere, nor would I be (nor was I) subservient to anything, but I guess you are right – most Irish people do what they’re told like the good little boys and girls that they are and that’s why they get royally screwed by everyone – especially by their own ‘government’.

      • Tony

        Jesus Adam, that’s almost exactly what I was thinking.

        • Daniel Waxonov

          “Catholic Boys” Movie Clip (aka,heaven help us;)

          not having done his homework,this lad is wingin’ it in explaining the meaning of the holy trinity;)

          [the full movie is there btw and it's a cracker!]

          • Daniel Waxonov

            We had [psycho bully] ‘christian brothers’ in primary school like the guy at the start of the 2nd part of the original youtube i chopped from. Years after leaving school i was blessed,so to say,in meeting this brother out socially [ a gift from god just for me ?;]

            It was a liberating encounter for me as it transpired ;)

            but for him,well,not so much

    • EugeneN

      the American version sounds more sinister. And no, Irish kids don’t start with the hail mary. We just went to the first class.

      • Yes you are right EugeneN. I don’t remember the Hail Mary either come to mention it. When I told my teacher (a nun) that I didn’t believe in God at the age of 6, she and the priest called for my Mum who told them: “Well he’ll make up his own mind”, and this was 1978 so the Catholic Church obviously wasn’t that powerful in our house even if most of the other dead fish went with the flow.

        • Tony

          LMAO. My experience at 6 (1971) was as follows

          Mrs. Brown: God is everywhere
          Me: How do you know?
          Mrs. Brown: Because he is
          Me: But if we can’t see him, how do we know he’s there?
          Mrs. Brown: Because he just is
          Me: but how do you know?
          Mrs. Brown: You just have to have faith
          Me: What’s that?
          Mrs. Brown: Believing in something you can’t see.
          Me: So is God invisible?
          Mrs. Brown: Yes
          Me: how come we don’t bump into him.
          Mrs. Brown: Be quiet.

          • Yeah typical mumbo-jumbo neolithic fairy tales.

            My own 6 year daughter goes to a Christian school (decent school, small class sizes so I don’t mind) in the US and I don’t impose my views on her but she’s already saying to me (without me askign, I’m careful about that) – “Daddy, this is not really true, is it?”.

            She’ll make up her own mind.

        • Being Catholic isn’t synonymous with dead fish Adam. Though the fish is an important christian symbol. Being catholic nowadays is more like bucking the trend.

          • Well it was a turn of phrase à la Roy Keane (or Einstein?).

            Whatever about the Catholic Church’s waning influence, Irish people on the whole have the tendency to stick with the status quo and do what they’re told by the powers-that-be.

    • Deco

      Pat, I think there is an inherent contradiction, in what you are saying. Irish people are not as naïve or obedient as Americans. Irish people are capable of questioning their betters. The problem is that the public discourse is controlled. You only have to listen to the rubbish in the media in the past two decades. [ Nothing to do with "Hail Marys" or any flags]. Much more to do with gombeenism, and a media that never offends those with money.

      What makes the difference is that the media, the state, and the professional elite are better are “agreeing the script”.

      I would term it “circling the wagons”. They are highly effective at lying, because they are able to misrepresent it as truth.

      Irish Defamation law (“right to good name” – even for dodgy characters) is a problem, because it prohibits people from saying anything that offends the well connected. Just look at the solicitors letters Culture – of shutting people up.

      • Daniel Waxonov

        well said Deco

        and speaking of “the well connected”×285.jpg

      • Deco

        Long after the British got kicked out, the powers that be were kicking around the sargeat majors. And saying nothing about the gombeens on the way up. Same applies present to institutional religion.

        Anybody wish to challenge IBEC or ICTU for their interference with respect to the running of the country ?

        Did any of you ever vote for IBEC even once in your life ?

        • DB4545

          I’m surprised both organisations haven’t been challenged under EU legislation for abuse of a dominant position. I can find out the membership list for ICTU easily enough but IBEC is much more secretive, and both groups get huge amounts of public subsidy without being accountable to the taxpayer.

    • pmortell

      Great comment

    • E. Kavanagh

      Pat, I live in CA also, and your comment is a bunch of cocksauce. The Yanks were sold a complete bill of goods after the 2008 collapse, yet there was plenty of criticism of the 99% movement. The very fact that Fox news exists negates your argument.
      In the mid-90′s I worked in an information resources dept in Oakland for a self insurance administration company. This was before the ubiquity of the internet. One of the company’s VPs came over and asked one of the analysts where the Philipines was–he wasn’t quite sure if it was in Asia or South America! This man was very accomplished in the field of reinsurance and a great asset to the company.
      I’ve been here a couple of decades, and I don’t see a well educated clued in people.
      I’d rather have kids start their day with a “Hail Mary” because at least that is obviously nonsense; as opposed to the disgrace of having little kids pledging allegiance to a flag, a country and the lies that follow. Liberty and justice for the rich maybe.

  5. David,
    good article…but Paddy and Mary have exited stage left and now the new stage oirish are Pawel and Ahmed….so who cares if the vulture is foreign or not there’s no one left to lament.

    Romantic ireland’s dead and gone,

    it’s with O’Leary, McCarthy, Doyle and GAA in Boston, Sydney and Berlin.

    • LKSteve

      I am sitting in Brisbane, just about to take the dogs for their early morning walk. I realised at a very young age indeed that I was being screwed by the Irish government. It was sometime during the Winter of 1985 when I got my first pay check and I wondered why half of it was gone to the government. Haughey was at the time having his hand made shirts flown in from Charvet of France on Irish air corp planes and the political elite of the country all had their hands down the trousers of the business elite. It was one big golden circle and nothing has changed. I was back in Ireland recently, first time in 11 years. The handle came off the shower in the disabled toilet / shower facility in the new terminal in Dublin and the water was cold. Nothing changes, it’s still a banana republic. Bob Geldoff got it right first time.

    • Daniel Waxonov

      They weighed so lightly what they gave

      ain’t that the Truth

  6. george

    President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, told to President Obama’s face, and the rest of the world leaders, at the last meeting of the Security Committee of the UN, that “capitalist vultures” ( that represent 6% of the creditors, that didn’t want to restructure the debt with the Argentinean Government, and that got the support of the High Court in the US, in a case against Argentina), that go around the world destabilizing national economies, are financial terrorists.
    It took a woman from South America, with more balls than many world leaders put together, to call a spade a spade, and to dare to speak the truth, while most of them, conveniently bowed their heads in fear, and said nothing about it, instead of strongly supporting her, as she deserves it.

    • ‘hopey-changey’ Obama – what a hypocritical wanker that guy turned out to be.

    • george

      “In her speech yesterday, Ms. Kirchner referred to so-called vulture funds as “economic terrorists that create poverty, hunger, and misery through the sin of speculation.” She also blamed the US justice system and its “complacency” in ruling in favor of holdout creditors.”

      • cooldude

        Ms Kirchner speech is being ignored by the lamestream media because she told a lot of home truths. There is no doubt that the vulture funds are “economic terrorists” and they follow the IMF and the World Bank around the world picking up cheap assets after the IMF forces a country to accept their loans through the type of threats they used here. This is all covered very clearly by John Perkins in his book Confessions of an Economic Hitman where he describes these same tactics being used twenty years ago mainly in South America.

        Now they are using these same economic terrorist tactics in Europe. It’s not just Paddy who is getting shafted but Manuel and every other country they force their debt onto. They are the real evil organizations. The vulture funds are just the birds of prey insiders who follow them around the world to pick up the pieces of destruction these odious institutions always leave behind.

        Also Ms Kirchner had a good go at the US for creating, training and arming ISIS in conjunction with Israel and Saudi. Obviously this won’t be reported in our propaganda media because it seems to be the truth and this whole ISIS phenomenon is just another pretext to remove the Assad regime because he doesn’t play the central banker’s game of debt money. At least there is one leader in the world who is not afraid to speak the truth.

        • p15574

          I agree 100%. As soon as the IMF came in, I knew the tactics of “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” were going to be used, and it’s happened exactly as predicted, every single step of the way.

    • Deco

      Kirchner is talking sense about debt.

      Debt is the problem, and default is possibly the solution.

      Since the crisis the media has been telling us that debt is not the problem, but that the sky will fall in if there are defaults.

      The super-rich are in control of the media and have politicians begging for their support. System capture.

      Time to get real about how to clean capitalism of it’s recklessness, by allowing the reckless to pay the price.

  7. I believe the main reason the European economy isn’t doing well is because of the stubborn reluctance of the ECB to print money so that it is weaker against the dollar and sterling to promote more exports. It seems as if the euro has been artificially high in recent years due to the markets perception of a currency not undergoing any form of quantitative easing. Finally Dragi is starting to see this is now the only real viable option to get Europe going again. It’s no surprise to all of us which Euro zone country benefits the most from a weaker Euro.

  8. EugeneN

    “We are pawns in the global credit cycle. The vulture capitalists know this but are too clever to admit it and the Irish political class don’t see it. We should be lamenting, but we are expected to celebrate the fact that Irish-based banks are selling their assets to foreigners at a discount that will be sold back to Paddies at a premium. Great craic, isn’t it?”

    Pawns? Not at all. NAMA’s remit is to make a profit for the tax payer. The present day tax payer. If that means another bubble then so be it.

    There is a clear agenda to increase prices: See this

    NAMA chief executive Brendan McDonagh has blamed the shortage of housing in Dublin on low prices, despite massive gains in property prices in the capital over the past year.
    Dublin house prices are still not high enough to attract new builders, he said, even though July figures from the Central Statistics Office showed a 23pc rise in prices across the county.
    Mr McDonagh said Dublin house prices still only barely exceed the cost of building, but prices will continue to rise, he added.

    In terms of affordability prices are about where they were in 2006. Houses are selling for 350K outside the M50 but taxes and wages are down since 2006, and retail interest rates are up. If you ever wanted to know that the game was rigged and how it was rigged that’s it.

    And what nonsense – if you can’t make a profit on property in Dublin how does the rest of the world build anything? There is no concern here for the buyer. Prop up the market. Give developers their profit. Sell property to overseas investors and don’t record that in the generalised market price. Allow increases in rent to leave the country and have no concern for renters, or their “repossessions” but protect landlords

    ITs the same criminal cartel which caused the last bust, of course.

    • Of course it is Eugene…but we are not prone to change in this country, it’ll only happen when enough people are starving…then heads might roll.

      But until then…..sigh.

    • Deco

      The bousing market in Dublin currently has been “bottlenecked”.

      The planning and development process has been changed, to enable more taxes, and also to restrict supply.

      There is also the chronic problem with respect to “urban” development in Dublin being low level, and not urban at all. In fact Dublin is exactly what David called it years ago “Denver without the sunshine”. It is a planning disaster.

      And there is a consensus, in the places that matter, that the bottlenecking should continue. A consensus that resulted in Dublin being a spread out sprawl, where transport decisions are usually involving cost subventions (unless we are talking about Dublin bus – which is not particularly effective at moving large numbers in a short space of time).

  9. Tony

    NAMA is like a medieval Irish king. Those guys invited the British. NAMA is inviting vulture funds. The result will probably be the same. The Irish can’t afford to buy property (can’t get loans) so it’ll be sold to anyone who can come up with the cash. Many of these properties are being rented at exorbitant rates. So much so that we have working middle income earners finding themselves homeless. As long as a balance sheet somewhere is satisfied, it doesn’t matter what the repercussions will be. But it’s ok. Emigration will sort it out eventually.

  10. Daniel Waxonov

    Good article David !!

    and this is a must read [and the comments section too]

    two words – BANKING ENQUIRY – it’s a MUST ! simple as

  11. You can fix nothing at all until the money system is fixed. The current money system is the root of all corruption. All other discussion is a waste of time and diverted energy.


    “It is a debt based economic model. It demands that cash be borrowed into the system in perpetuity. It cannot stop. Once we stop or admit we have a debt problem—implosion time. “

  13. Deco

    The latest EU declarations concerning Ireland’s low tax rate, should have people alert.

    Have we reduced our overall debt levels ?
    Have we reduced the oversized, underly accountable, wasteful institutional state ?
    Have we changed our behavioural patterns away from those that led to the consumerist binges that drove up debt levels ?
    Have we seen a more open and honest public discourse ?
    Have we purged the banks and the semis state sector of the “performance/pay scale/leadership” quagmire ?
    Have we done anything to address our structural inefficiencies, like the high costs of using state services ?
    Have we improved the infrastructural inefficiencies, as exemplified by the failure to implement joined up thinking in respect of traffic/residential planning/business location planning in Dublin/Wicklow/Kildare ?
    Have we addressed the Bellanboy disaster where we sold out the people’s interests, and sent state security to Belmullet to shut the locals up, and make sure that their valid points were ignored ?
    Have we delivered the hoped for improvement in agricultural output (which ran into a brick wall because of the Ukrainian mess) ?
    Have we reformed the HSE which gobbles up funding ?
    Have we reformed an immigration system which encourages asylum seeking but deters work permit applications in sectors where it is needed ?
    Have we reformed the failed banks and purged them of their debt ?
    If Jack O’Connor is quiet, does hit mean that he is getting his way wherever he wants, and indication that he has too much power ?

    I think that we have failed to respond to any of these issues.

    Is EK the new Dithering Bertie ?

  14. Lads, Mr. bonbon has been let out of his padded cell for an hour, and is on the computer in the communal area as usual, so brace yourselves for about 20 posts full of incomprehensible shite, then he’ll go quiet for another 24 hours.


    • Daniel Waxonov

      I have always thought of Mr.Bonbon as a pacifist and i can’t imagine him , EVER , promoting violence in any way,shape or form.

  15. The times, they are a changing

    “Yet gold has special properties that no other currency, with the possible exception of silver, can claim. For more than two millenia, gold has had virtually unquestioned acceptance as payment. It has never required the credit guarantee of a third party.” Alan Greenspan, 2014

    • Daniel Waxonov


      did you see max keiser’s new silver/bitcoin hybrid offering?…i mean ,if it wasn’t so tragic,it’d be laughable at this stage…a farce.

      We can forget market fundamentals – theyve been dead for years.

      “Praise Martyyy Moose” ;)lol


  16. More on the Greenspan about turn which is actually a 360 to embrace his first opinions.

    Greenspan’s Golden Secret
    by Bix Weir

    January 2007…

    “This book is part detective story.”
    Alan Greenspan — First Line Back Cover of “The Age Of Turbulence”

    No truer words have been spoken when examining this book or the rhyme and reason behind the life and career of Alan Greenspan. He is a “mystery wrapped in an enigma”…or is he? A life long admirer, student and follower of Ayn Rand, Greenspan spent his early years as an economist trumpeting the virtues of sound money and value of a gold standard.

    Midway through his career, though, Greenspan abruptly pulls a 180 degree philosophical change of conviction to embrace the fiat money, welfare system that he so vehemently despised in earlier writings. Not only did he embrace fiat money, but he used and abused it to a degree which steered us down the path of irreversible self destruction. What came over him? How does such an intelligent and seemingly honest human being become so corrupt as to use and abuse the monetary system of the entire world further enriching the wealthy and abusing the poor? Or should I ask a deeper question… Could he have done it all on purpose?

    I contend in this article that Alan Greenspan learned from ex Federal Reserve Chairman and mentor Arthur Burns how the banking cartel stole the global monetary system from the people. This knowledge has been his lifelong obsession and he has finally devised a way back to the Gold Standard by orchestrating the pending destruction of the fiat money system.


    “We are long past the time for the TRUTH to be exposed. It is time to awaken the masses to the long term manipulation of our markets via computer programs started in the 1960′s by Alan Greenspan and Stephen Devaux.” (Bix Weir)

  17. you might amuse yourself looking at this for a couple of minutes. Maybe it will change your mind if you think the US is in recovery as suggested by a scribes recent visit to California.

    Every dollar of debt added is producing 2 cents of economic activity. This figure is about to turn negative even as you sit mesmerized by the scrolling numbers.

    • As a matter of interest. Who is going to buy from the vulture funds if debt suffocation is working and money is not circulating. Unloading the debt to the vulture funds may be the smartest thing the banks have done in a while. Maybe the vulture funds are going down with the ship and will be wiped out.
      Whatever, it will not help the individual in distress.

      • Daniel Waxonov

        wiped out? wishful thinking Tony

        i just downloaded f.lux free – very cool (especially for late nite reading,check it out)

  18. Awaiting moderation, that one ain’t going to get published. Oh well.

  19. If it has two attachments split into two and post separately!!

  20. It must not have been “moderate” enough Adam.

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