Gov’t doles out $2.05M in loans

Nearly 190 people applied for interest-free loans offered by the government to help Caymanians pay off their mortgages. In all, 134 Caymanians were given loans totalling $2.05 million, with the last of the government cheques dated 13 July. As of 12 July, the amount of cheques delivered to banks totalled about $290,000.

Premier McKeeva Bush announced the creation of the “Save the Mortgage” programme on 13 December, 2011, funded by the Dart Group as part of the For Cayman Investment Alliance. According to records provided to the Caymanian Compass in response to a Freedom of Information request, 32 of the 189 applicants (or 17 per cent) did not fall behind on their mortgage payments until after the Premier’s announcement.

Of those 32 applications, 14 were approved, for a total of $190,000 in loans, representing roughly 10 per cent of the approved applications and 9 per cent of the funds. Meanwhile, the 18 rejected applications submitted by people who only recently had fallen behind mortgage payments comprised about one-third of the total rejected applications.

According to the 2010 Cayman Islands Census, nearly 6,400 households (Caymanian and non-Caymanian) had mortgages on their homes. That means about 3 per cent of people in Cayman who had mortgages on their homes applied for relief through the government’s loan programme.

Of the loan recipients, 34 were in foreclosure proceedings and 100 had been issued demand letters from lending institutions. The shortest time for a loan recipient to be delinquent in payments was 42 days, and the longest time was 1,430 days. The programme committee prioritised applicants who had been delinquent for more than three months; accordingly only 11 loan recipients had been delinquent for 90 days or fewer.

Loan amounts ranged from $4,044 to $20,000. Successful applicants were in arrears from $1,353 to $71,476. The loans were approved with repayment periods of five to 50 years, with monthly payments ranging from $11.44 to $177.58.

In all, 103 of the 134 successful applicants received loan amounts greater than the amount they were in arrears. Ministry of Finance, Development and Tourism Information Manager Kristy Watler said, “In addition to the delinquent mortgage amount at the bank, applicants were also approved up to three months of loan payments provided that the total Save the Mortgage loan does not exceed CI$20,000. The extra months of loan payments would allow applicants some time to get back on their feet before commencing their mortgage payments.”

One person successfully applied to receive a loan but then withdrew from the programme.

In total, 55 people unsuccessfully applied for loans.

Editor’s note: The above article has been edited to clarify the amount of cheques delivered to banks and Ms Watler’s title.
 

1 COMMENT

  1. So I can have my mortgage and pay interest, or I can pretend to be unable to pay, and then take an interest-free loan.

    In a country it is hard to prove how wealthy or poor you are (if you don’t want to), this seems a Wile E. Coyote approved loan scheme, that was open to a lot of abuse.

  2. What is the chance that the Gov’t will collect on these loans? Are they collaterized? What penalty is instituted on people for non-payment? Or did we just give this money away (to buy votes)?