Sat | Nov 17, 2018

Repossessions rise - Economic crunch hits persons with car loans

Published:Sunday | August 10, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Used motor vehicles for sale displayed for potential purchasers. - File
Head bailiff of Kingston and St Andrew, Augustus Sherriah.

Chad Bryan, Gleaner Writer

There seems to have been an increase in the number of motor vehicle repossessions carried out by financial institutions. This, as the economic slump continues.

This perception is supported by head bailiff of Kingston and St Andrew, Augustus Sherriah. "There is an increase in the banks sending out persons to seize vehicles. The only problem is that the banks cannot find them [those owing]. From the moment they owe the money and they know that they cannot pay it, they start hiding that vehicle. You will not see the vehicle on the road anymore," Sherriah said.

If the arrears are not settled, the repossessed vehicles are then auctioned. Late last month, the National Commercial Bank (NCB) put up more than 30 repossessed motor vehicles at locations around the Corporate Area and in the west end of the island in Montego Bay for sale. Ashcorp Company Limited on Mountain View Avenue, ATL Motors on Hagley Park Road, Mission Auto Brokers on Dumbarton Avenue and Carsmart Auto Traders Limited on Sunset Boulevard in Montego Bay were selected as venues for interested persons to view vehicles.

Car dealer partnership

A representative at one of the companies explained that a partnership existed between the car dealership and the bank to have the vehicle stored either at the dealership's location or at another location, so that persons could view them. It was emphasised that the car dealerships have no direct influence over the auction of the vehicles, but merely house and showcase them.

The motor vehicles that were auctioned by NCB ranged from a number of sedans, hatchbacks and station wagons as well as pick-ups, a van, motor truck and a coupe. The makes included Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Honda and Fords, made between 1999 to 2013.

Individuals who were interested in purchasing the motor vehicles at the auction were required to fill out a repossessed car bid form, entering the year, make and model of the vehicle as well as its chassis, engine and registration number. They were also required to input the bid sum for the vehicle along with their contact particulars before submitting it to NCB's debt collection and recovery unit at the bank's Atrium location.

At Scotiabank, the Centralised Retail Collection Unit reports that vehicle repossessions are done continuously and that vehicles will become repossessed after the loans to which they have been attached go into default 92 days past the due date. An average of 10 vehicles per month are repossessed by the bank. However, it was made clear that the bank officers offer advice to defaulting borrowers, entering into payment arrangements to assist such customers.

Motorists who are behind on payments have the option of surrendering the vehicle to the bank at any time. However, Scotiabank's Collections Department says this is not often done.