Categorized | Business, National News

Thousands of Bahamians Stuck in “Scandalous” Loans —Blamed for Mortgage Relief Failure

State Minister for Finance Michael Halkitis said one of the reasons the government’s mortgage relief plan failed is because of the high levels of indebtedness of thousands of Bahamians who are stuck in “scandalous” loan agreements.

During “A Report to the Nation: Second Anniversary of Governance” a special press conference held by Cabinet ministers on the eve of their second anniversary in office, Minister Halkitis said many applicants to the mortgage relief plan did not qualify, not solely because the programme was a bad one, but because so many Bahamians are in debt.

“As we moved through the process and the whole process of qualification began, what became apparent, that was not even apparent to the bank, was the level of indebtedness of individuals, particularly consumer loans.

“So we found that, notwithstanding the good faith of the Clearing Bank Association and the government, very few individuals would be able to qualify under that system.”

Mr. Halkitis said it was through this process that the government uncovered some “scandalous” lending practices.

“It brought to light, to us, the really scandalous nature of consumer lending and lending practices not only by some commercial banks, but also by unregulated lenders which we are addressing.”

Because of this, Minister Halkitis said the government is moving forth to implement a credit bureau so that more information can be shared amongst financial institutions.

Despite the plan’s failure, Minister Halkitis said the government has committed to move on the legislation in this regard to bring that protection to those in need.

He said it is expected that this is an ongoing process and added that the government is committed to seeing it to fruition, particularly as it is a part of the government’s Charter for Governance.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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