After embarking on an advertisement campaign for the past few months with the expressed purpose of reaching out to delinquent borrowers, the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation now intends to go after those individuals whose loans are in arrears.

Managing Director at the Corporation, Jerome Godfrey said at a press conference Monday, May 6 that the advertisements, which began prior to the Christmas season, encouraged persons to come in, discuss and arrange a programme to update their mortgage arrears in a timely manner.

But Mr. Godfrey said, “Whereas this initiative has had a marginal degree of success, many of our mortgagors have not taken advantage of the opportunity.”

He explained that over the past 25 years of its existence, the Corporation has been effective in carrying out its functions.

During this period, Mr. Godfrey said the Corporation has approved over 6,500 loans to Bahamians from all walks of life and the value of these loans has been in excess of $346.9 million.

However, he said despite this milestone, there are inherent problems where persons who have been granted mortgages by The Bahamas Mortgage Corporation do not meet their “obligations and or fiduciary responsibility” as was agreed under the terms of their mortgages.

“This has become a concern for the Corporation because the ratio of our loans in arrears presently stands at 22.43 per cent of the total portfolio.”

The Managing Director said, “This ratio is too high and despite our efforts to cause our Bahamian borrowers to meet their mortgage obligations, we have discovered that priority to repayment of their mortgage at The Bahamas Mortgage Corporation is not what it ought to be.

“These obligations appear to be relegated very low on their list of priorities and most definitely second to consumer loans by other banks, financial institutions, travel opportunities and even furniture companies.”

As a result, Mr. Godfrey promised tougher measures are ahead by the Corporation and these measures can result in foreclosure on the borrowers’ property.

He said, “However before that time comes, the Corporation is again reaching out to persons with mortgage loans in arrears to come into our Loan Administration Department here in Nassau, Abaco and Freeport to update their delinquent mortgages.

“Over the next few months, we will be issuing letters to delinquent borrowers giving them deadlines to come in to the Corporation to update their account.”

Mr. Godfrey said that failure to do so will result in the Corporation beginning the process to realise its security under the mortgage.

“In short, we will proceed to foreclosure of the property and ultimate eviction of the occupants from the premises,” he said.

“This is not the way we would prefer to go as the Corporation is not in the business of selling properties, however, there comes a time when the Corporation must take a ‘get tough’ attitude and that time is now.

“We are cognizant of the predictions of a marginalised growth in our economy in the months ahead and therefore feel that this effort now to encourage borrowers to fix what is wrong and will act as a hedge if our borrowers were to be effected by such marginalisation of our economy.”