A senior international banker has raised the possibility of the Government selling NAMA in future years, RTÉ News has learned.

The review was carried out for the board of NAMA and Minister for Finance Michael Noonan by former HSBC bank CEO Michael Geoghegan.

In yesterday's Budget Minister Noonan announced the establishment of an advisory board to NAMA. It will be led by Mr Geoghegan.

Among the issues his review examined was how the State could ultimately sell off its vast property empire.

Until now the thinking was that the agency would simply dispose of all the assets it possibly could.

But RTÉ News has learned that Mr Geoghegan raised the possibility, in meetings, of selling the entire agency instead. He also said NAMA should manage more loans directly. At the moment, loans of 600 NAMA borrowers are managed by the banks. That would require the NAMA taking on 200 additional staff, something which could be politically challenging.

Meanwhile, the credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's has placed NAMA on creditwatch negative - indicating it is considering downgrading the agency's creditworthiness rating.

The move follows S&P's decision earlier this week to place almost all of the euro zone states and the EFSF bail-out fund on creditwatch negative, over concerns that governments were not moving quickly enough to deal with the euro zone crisis.

As NAMA is a state-guaranteed entity, S&P applies the same criteria as it does to countries.

NAMA chief welcomes Budget property moves

NAMA chief executive Brendan McDonagh has welcomed measures dealing with the property market announced as part of the Budget.

"The Budget contains a number of measures which will give greater certainty and greater support to Irish and international investors considering investing in Irish property," he said.

He particularly welcomed the greater certainty on upward-only rent reviews, the reduction in stamp duty on commercial property and the exemption from capital gains tax for any property bought up to the end of 2013 if held for seven years.