The National Asset Management Agency is an agency that is acquiring both good and bad loans from Irish banks. All loans in excess of €5m relating to property can qualify for inclusion. The total value of loans to be transferred to Nama is around €80bn.
The loans are bought from the bank at a discount which is, in theory, determined by the property market. The agency will then manage the loans with the aim of achieving the best result for the exchequer.
This could mean selling off property, liquidating a company or investing more money to develop a property which is the subject of loans. The route taken for each loan is determined by what is regarded as delivering the best possible outcome for the exchequer.
The stated purpose of Nama is to get bad loans off the books of the banks, which in turn allows the banks return to the business of lending money, particularly to businesses, in order to stimulate the economy. Nama's projected lifespan is seven to 10 years.
The agency and the government have been at pains to express the view that Nama is not a bailout for developers, who will have to repay their loans fully.
That's the theory, anyway.