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The National Housing Trust (NHT), will be offering a range of measures to assist persons, who may have difficulties paying their mortgage, as a result of job loss or disruption in income flow.
“These involve suspension of mortgage payments, reduction in monthly payments, rescheduling of mortgage payments, extension of the mortgage period and reduction in interest rates. The exact treatment to be applied will vary from case to case and will be dependent on the peculiar circumstances of each borrower,” Prime Minister, Bruce Golding said, during his broadcast to the nation on Sunday (Dec. 14).
Mr. Golding also encouraged those NHT mortgagers, who are experiencing hardship at this time, not to allow their arrears to pile up.
“Contact your nearest NHT office. Talk with them. They stand ready to work with you to find a way to work it out. I have instructed the NHT to assign adequate personnel to deal with those borrowers who may need to seek this assistance, but I urge those who are not so affected, to pay their mortgage. That is the only way we will be able to assist those who are in difficulty,” Mr. Golding stressed.
The Prime Minister also informed that private mortgage lenders such as the building societies have indicated that they are willing to work out arrangements with their borrowers, who are in difficulty.
He however noted that building societies are restricted because any mortgage, which is in arrears for more than 90 days, is classified as a non-performing loan and must be reported to the regulatory authorities.
“Strict limits are imposed on the amount of non-performing loans they are allowed to have on their books. We want to give them more space to help those borrowers, who are in distress. As of January 1, we will be increasing the period after which non-performing loans are booked from 90 days to 180 days. This will remain in place until the current economic crisis is behind us,” Mr. Golding said.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister also announced that as of Monday, December 15, barrels and packages containing personal effects with an assessed value not exceeding US$3,000 and which are cleared or arrive in the island before December 31, will be allowed to be cleared duty free.
“I know that at this time, there are many Jamaicans, who depend on packages sent to them for Christmas from relatives abroad. Many of them will have difficulty in paying the duties to clear their goods. We want to offer them a little relief,” Mr. Golding stated.