News - Real Estate - General (Sept 16, 2004)
NCB offers loans for disaster recovery
NATIONAL Commercial Bank (NCB) has
launched a $150 million loan facility to help Jamaicans rebuild property damaged
by Hurricane Ivan.
Concessionary interest rates of 16.25 per cent
to 18.25 per cent will be charged, said Michael Lee-Chin, chairman of NCB. He
was speaking at a press conference at the bank's New Kingston headquarters
yesterday where the new loan facility was introduced.
"We have a responsibility to help those who
are in need," Mr. Lee-Chin said. Hurricane Ivan has left severe damage
across the island in the wake of its weekend rampage.
"The base rate is the lowest rate for our
customers who present cash as collateral for their loans," said Aubyn Hill,
managing director of NCB. "But these are not normal times, and so we want
to help out."
The loans, "will be available to homeowners and farmers who can borrow
between $25,000 and $350,000," Mr. Lee-Chin said. Borrowers will have 48
months for repayment and the interest rate charged will be below base rate. The
facility will run up to October 31 of this year.
Courtney Campbell, head of retail banking,
stated, "For persons who give their title as collateral, they will pay
16.25 per cent and persons who assign their salary to us will pay 18.25 per
cent. This is an effective rate. No other commercial bank is offering these
rates." NCB will also forego all fees relating to the loans. Mr. Hill said,
"We are waiving all fees, no funny fees charged like other banks." In
order for homeowners and farmers to access this loan facility, proof of need
will be required and NCB will deploy staff to view the damage to homes and
"We will visit the locations to assess the
damage," Mr. Hill said. "We have redirected staff from head office and
branches plus we will hire contract staff to help us with this."
Applicants are being encouraged to make the
process as simple as possible, Mr. Hill said. "Pictures, contractor
estimates and the like will help us process the loan faster. In fact, with all
paperwork in front of us, the loan can be approved in 36 hours."
Mr. Hill said principal repayments would be waived for the first three months of
As an additional bonus, Mr. Campbell said,
"Existing NCB customers who have paid off their loans automatically qualify
for the loan because they have a good credit history with us."
On Monday NCB had launched a separate initiative
to help hurricane victims. The NCB disaster relief fund aims to disburse $350
'The loans will be available to homeowners and
farmers who can borrow between $25,000 and $350,000.'