More money, more arrears
Better-paid Jamaicans top NHT bad-mortgage list
Corey Robinson, Gleaner Staff Reporter
Persons in the middle and high-income bands account for more than half of the mortgage arrears now on the books of the National Housing Trust (NHT).
The state-run agency is reporting that persons in the band who earn $10,001 to $20,000 weekly and those who earn more than $20,001 account for 55 per cent of its mortgage arrears.
Meanwhile, persons in the lowest income band, those earning between minimum wage and $7,500 weekly, account for 24 per cent of the mortgage arrears of the Trust.
Persons earning between $7,501 and $10,000 weekly collectively account for just under 21 per cent of the total arrears.
However, the NHT's best customers are beneficiaries of the Inner-City Housing Project (ICHP), a group which has been dogged over the years by criticisms regarding delinquent repayments.
They accounted for only 0.03 per cent of the $1.7 billion in arrears owed to the NHT.
These 383 ICHP beneficiaries reflect a mere 0.02 per cent of a total of 19,417 accounts currently in arrears, the NHT disclosed.
"Over the last five years, an average of approximately 55 per cent of ICHP mortgagors have been consistently servicing their accounts," said Natalie Fowler, communications officer at the NHT, in response to Sunday Gleaner queries.
According to the NHT, of the 19,417 accounts in arrears, 5,224 were for mortgagors earning more than $20,001 weekly. Mortgagors earning between $10,001 and $20,000.99 weekly accounted for 5,474 of the accounts; while persons earning between $7,501 and $10,000.99 weekly account for 4,009 of the accounts in arrears.
Persons earning below $7,501 weekly hold the other 4,710 accounts in arrears.
Fowler said that some mortgagors have remained delinquent despite an attempt by NHT to encourage those employed to service loans via salary deductions.
Person who are self-employed have been pushed to set up standing order accounts with their banks.
Fowler also suggested that special collection drives, home visits and arrears counselling have also gone unheeded by some delinquent mortgagors.
To go after those not paying, the NHT, in the past month, has been seeking the services of debt-collection agencies to assist in getting the outstanding funds.
According to the NHT, "The debt-collection agencies will be required to facilitate the collection of arrears owing on active mortgage accounts and the applicable collection fees.
"These accounts will consist mostly of loans 90 days or more past due and loans for which more rigorous and investigative collection services are required."