Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. Omar Davies, has lauded FirstCaribbean International Building Society for launching its international hard currency mortgage facility, offering a range of mortgage products to national and non-national customers and in particular, non-resident hard currency earners.
Addressing the formal launch at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston, yesterday (January 25), the Minister stressed that the product was significant, as it filled the growing demand for hard currency mortgages. The offer, although new to Jamaica, is well established in several countries across the Caribbean region, including the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas, Barbados, the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Dr. Davies explained that the instrument took on critical importance, given the onset of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). “Any country which then falls behind in terms of its ability to match that which is taking place in other elements of this Single Market and Economy, will have a difficulty in catching up.,” the Finance Minister noted, expressing confidence that other such products would soon be offered by similar businesses. He argued that the launch of the product reflected significant development in the country’s financial sector, and emphasized that the regulatory authorities would ensure that there was adherence to the rules governing the facility.
The Minister encouraged the entity to also consider making affordable housing solutions available to fill the housing needs of workers for the hotels which would be constructed. “You can’t have world class service without the workers feeling comfortable.,” Dr. Davies pointed out.Managing Director of FirstCaribbean International Building Society, Milton Brady, pointed to the entity’s successful partnership with the developers of the Golden Eye and Palmyra resorts, noting that much benefit would be derived from the projects.
He said that in addition to generating significant amounts of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in the tourist industry as well as the economy, the initiatives would create employment in all sectors. Furthermore, he informed that FirstCaribbean would be partnering with the operators of the properties to provide affordable housing for their staff.
The extended mortgage product is to facilitate home purchase, renovation, land purchase, build on own land, home equity, residential investments, commercial properties as well as debt consolidation and refinancing. The mortgage is available for up to 70 per cent of the purchase price of the valuation of the property and up to 50 percent for “new build” projects.