Rivers points to foreclosure conflicts

| 08/11/2017 | 110 Comments
Cayman News Service

Financial Services Minister Tara Rivers in the Legislative Assembly, 6 November 2017

(CNS): The financial services minister denied that government is ignoring the issue of banks foreclosing on people’s home loans and the excessive fees that some of the institutions are charging customers, as she said that she has already met with the bankers association about these issues. Tara Rivers said that all the fees charged by banks are now on the CIMA website, bringing transparency and customer power to the issue. But she pointed to a lot more challenges surrounding the problem of foreclosures. “Banks lend money for profit,” the minister told the Legislative Assembly Monday, and they have “a legitimate expectation” to get it back. 

Over the last few years the previous PPM administration has been widely criticised for not acting to protect people’s homes. Government has been accused of downplaying the problem and the numbers of people impacted. They were also criticised for pointing an accusatory finger at the borrowers for failing to manage their cash rather than the lenders for wanting to pull the loan deals and get their money back within a short period of default, regardless of the circumstances of the borrower.

The speed with which some banks move to foreclose has been widely reported on CNS, in the broader press, on talk radio and TV, social media, by candidates on the campaign trail and in the LA during the budget debate.

Despite efforts by borrowers who defaulted on a few payments to try to make up the arrears, the lending institutions are quick to repossess the homes and put them on the market, often way below their true value, to recoup the remainder of a loan, even when they had historically been good payers.

For people who suddenly hit hard times, almost always as a result of either a divorce or losing their job, what many see as the callous approach by the banks of selling their homes from under them, even after just a few months in default, has been of particular concern. This more so following repeated reports that attempts by borrowers and others on their behalf to talk to the banks and find a solution have often been ignored.

Some MLAs and victims of the foreclosures have suggested that legislation to introduce defined legal mortgages specifically for home loans is needed, as a mortgage law could help protect defaulters for longer, giving them time to catch up and not lose the equity they may have in their homes. At present most people in Cayman do not have mortgages but instead have ordinary loans secured against the home.

Speaking in the budget debate, Rivers said government had heard these concerns and did recognise the reality of the foreclosure issue for those experiencing it or struggling to keep homes they have worked hard to acquire. But she said there was a difficult tension that had to be acknowledged.

The minister warned that if the lending institution does not have a legitimate right to recover what they lend, then they will stop lending in this market, making it very hard for people to borrow the money they need to buy a house. She said the balance between lender and borrower would always be tense because the banks want their money and the people want to keep their homes.

Rivers said she was looking at ways to deal with these competing interests. In the short term government is proposing that the banks or lending institutions make the terms and conditions on which they lend more public so that consumers understand what they are committing to when borrowing money against a home.

For the medium term she indicated there could be legislative intervention. But, she said, the issue crossed multiple laws, such as those dealing with land and property and banking legislation, so government was going to ask the Law Reform Commission to look at the pieces of legislation currently dealing with buying a home and the financing for it to make recommendations for possible legislative reform.

“We must be mindful of the competing interests,” Rivers said. “To rush into a legislative fix without doing the research may result in unintended consequences, but we will be exploring options.”

Having met with CIMA, Rivers said that action was being taken on the issue of charges and fees, which has become another area of contention for the public at large. Stories of people being charged as much as $10 in fees to cash cheques as little as $25, among other things, has resulted in the publication of a consolidated list of bank fees on CIMA’s website. She said people will be able to compare charges, empowering consumers because they can see who is charging what.

See Rivers’ full contribution to the debate on CIGTV below:

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Comments (110)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Solution to all of the above. Just pay rent. Forget about mortgages. You will only end up paying 4 times the mortgage amount. Plus home owners Insurance which is another mortgage like payment. Rent!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Me thinks there are a lot more Jeffrey Webbs, in the CIG. If exposure does not soon come, Dart won. Dart is buying agressively now, secretly, and building instantaniously. Wake up!

  3. Anonymous says:

    a story that sums up caymanian entitlement culture and the fact caymanians never take responsibility for anything….

    • Anonymous says:

      Please. Who are you kidding with that statement Mr. White Privlege? Who the heck has a sense of entitlement more than white men?

      While some Caymanians may feel entitled to the Cayman Islands, white men feel they are entitled to the entire universe. We’re wise to you. I think the younger generation call it being “woke”.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wake up and leave the colour commentary up North. Cayman is too small not to purge ourselves of our biases, at least not if we want to keep progressing socially.

        • Anonymous says:

          It wasn’t colour commentary, it was a statement of fact. For too long Caymanians have put up with white expats coming here and telling us that we have a sense of entitlement. Seriously? White people in the US and UK don’t feel entitled? Are they not the privileged class back home? You’re the one that needs to wake up if you can’t admit that! Are they not the ones with the better opportunities for education, employment and social acceptance? They do not have to put up with the indignities and micro-aggressions that so-called “minorities” have to put face everyday. They are considered the top of society where they come. Period.

          The problem is that when they go to live abroad, they want to pack that entitlement and privilege in their luggage and bring it with them. How many white expats have bristled the first time they were told that Caymanians have to be given priority for employment? They’ve never had to face feeling like a second-class citizen in their lives, so they push back and call Caymanians entitled! It’s nothing short of hypocrisy!

          • Anonymous says:

            Not fact at all actually. Have you ever been anywhere or you just watching too many movies? Your “statement of fact” couldn’t be more false. Your quick assumption that the poster was a white man is telling us that you have some sort of complex with white men. Fair enough but your rant on white expats is just invalid and ridiculous. What is even more of a joke, is that you moan about whites, yet half of you hire “helpers” aka “slaves” do do all your work for you. I’ve never seen anything like it. A nanny is one thing but this whole “helper” business is embarrassing. Modern day slavery. I always hear complaints about employing slave trade yet while you are sitting on your phone whining on these issues, your “helper” is out doing your shopping…

    • Melanie says:

      What? Wait? Because Caymanians want to keep their homes and ask for a change in laws to force banks to work with people who have defaulted on their loans in an effort to make sure people do not lose their homes is a sense of entitlement? Go eff yourself or how about your entitled coward ass post your name. Asswipe. Chances are your not local so how about you pack up and take your entitled coward ass back where you came from because you are certainly not entitled to stay on my island running my people into the ground.

  4. Anonymous says:

    i need a stiff drink….??

    • J says:

      Yes! that’s all good and well for the politicians because “they are not the ones without a roof over their heads.” The CIMA listing should also reflect the different interest rates for mortgages and credit.

  5. Anonymous says:

    if i could, i would build a snall efficiency on a trailer….lile they do in usa? but of course…them mla’s wont allow it? oh man…oh …i forgot…i am a native caymanian…..we vote for them to pass laws that hold us back and support the rich???? @$/^#^&

  6. Anon says:


    CNS the article is full or erroneous statements and fuels erroneous comments by people most likely have never had a mortgage.

    The latest stats on foreclosures are in this ESO document. However the inventory will include raw land and commercial properties. What I do not understand is, how can you borrow money then, default on the mortgage and expect to still own the property while you are not making payments. No matter how far your mortgage is in arrears, if you are making some payments, a bank will unlikely sell the property. However you have to make consistent payments. Some people have a BMW all shiny and nice while their mortgage is in arrears and still think that a bank will not force the sale of your property. Why can’t people just sell their property before they get too far behind on their payments, instead of blaming everyone for their incompetence.

    • Anonymous says:

      While there is no defense for anyone driving a shiny car while their mortgage is in arrears, there are other important factors to consider as to why a person whose mortgage is in default is unable to sell the property before foreclosure. Property values were at an all-time high after Hurricane Ivan, and many people bought replacement homes after their old one was destroyed (I should know, I was one of them). Those new homes were much more expensive than the old ones (again, I should know), because high demand was driving the market prices upward. Fast forward 7-10 years later, market values began to fall, especially in the Prospect and East West Arterial areas, due to a number of factors, one being the construction of the lower income homes in that area, which affected the desirability and property values of the area as a whole. Sorry, but it’s the truth. Factor in a global financial crisis which resulted in many firms in the financial industry scaling back and making many Caymanians redundant. Factor in the unscrupulous property appraisers who reduced property values in the area without any quantifiable justification for it. And Presto! A perfect disaster. The end result is that you now have a recently purchased property, purchased a high price just years ago, now has a lower property value but a high mortgage balance because the first 10 years of a mortgage is basically just interest payments. You now have a home that is worth damn near close to, if not less, than the mortgage balance. Try selling that home in a now competitive market where you’re up against people knocking 10’s of thousands of dollars off of their asking prices to move their own homes. If you sell for less then the mortgage balance the bank will not release their charge over property until you come up with new security for the balance. To put it simply, some people don’t sell because they can’t.

      The Banks shouldn’t turn a blind eye to any of these factors. The responsible thing to do would be to work with the home owner, find out what their circumstances are, and come up with new payment options instead of demanding that they keep trying to make the payments that they clearly can no longer afford. And by the way, the Banks are not innocent in all of this. They shouldn’t have given out 90-95% mortgages way back when in the first place! That was totally irresponsible on their part.

      • Anonymous says:

        While all of this may be true, most of this argument is only relevant if you want to sell your home or need to sell your home. If the objective is to own your own home (buy/hold) and not real estate investing, buy high/sell low arguments are irrelevant. Do you feel you may have paid too much? Sure but that’s a free market and surely Ivan was no more the bank’s fault as it was yours/ours.

      • Anonymous says:

        it is what it is. appraisers don’t value low for no reason…why would they do that???
        face facts…no one wants to live east of grand harbour.

      • Gregory A.R. Watt says:

        Responding to this anonymous person’s comment “While there is no defense for anyone driving a shiny car while their mortgage is in arrears,” Sigh! This is exactly why it is so difficult for us to get out of the mire as a country – Badmind and grudgeful! My BMW is not nice and shiny. It’s an old, beat up 2005 BMW that I have been driving since about 2010 ( I think) and which I cannot sell because I still owe the bank and Tony’s Toys on it. If you want to take over the payments and take the car, be my guest! My number is 922-9715. Give me a call. Please, release me of this burden too.

      • Gregory A.R. Watt says:

        My apologies. My comment was supposed to go under “Anon’s” comment I now realize. So it is not meant for here but for Badmind Anon.

    • Anonymous says:

      Responding to this “ANON” person’s comment “While there is no defense for anyone driving a shiny car while their mortgage is in arrears,” Sigh! This is exactly why it is so difficult for us to get out of the mire as a country – Badmind and grudgeful! My BMW is not nice and shiny. It’s an old, beat up 2005 BMW that I have been driving since about 2010 ( I think) and which I cannot sell because I still owe the bank and Tony’s Toys on it. If you want to take over the payments and take the car, be my guest! My number is 922-9715. Give me a call. Please, release me of this burden too.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Wasn’t it PPM that got the law changed so that Banks can foreclose when you are three months in arrears rather than six? I wonder who that law affected most? I understand some people live beyond their means, but there are time where people just fall into a bad financial situation.

  8. Anonymous says:

    realistically, most people in cayman should be in small homes or mobile homes? salaries really do not add up to the cost of living for most folk….definitely not for thise on a government salary!?

  9. Anonymous says:

    caymanians….build small…like i did? tiny home/big living??

  10. MM says:

    Foreclosing for non-payment is one thing; what needs to be looked in to are the banks who give mortgages with 24 and 36 month “on-demand clauses”.

    What these clauses allow a bank to do is demand the entire balance of the mortgage after the 24 or 36 month period regardless of how the loan has been paid or how well the borrower has been paying… this legally enforceable clause also allows the bank to repossess the house if the borrower has other credit facilities that are outstanding (like a credit card or car loan)… many home-owners do not read their entire charge document or can they even really understand what is written within it – these documents are written with lots of legal terminology that the average homeowner does not care to understand. The long and short of the entire document is that a borrower signs away and gives the bank permission to do what they are doing…

    The only way to handle this is with legislative review and revising those charge documents.

    • Anonymous says:

      I just signed a mortgage and found that the lawyer dealing with my closing was extremely pushy and rushing me through the process when I tried to read through the documents. I read them through but honestly wish I had requested to take the documents to read over since I was in and out of that office within 30 mins. Something needs to be done to protect people.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sort of pathetic excuse debt dodgers use to blame others. Rushed? Then take the documents away and read them, rather than be a pathetic whiner.

        • Anonymous says:

          Would the whiner even understand what they were reading if given 2 weeks always blame someone else ……

    • Anonymous says:

      OK, but how many “on-demand” foreclosures have occurred in the last 12 months (a) total number, (b) % of all foreclosures, (c) % of mortgages that could have been “on-demand”ed?

  11. Anonymous says:

    The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) must immediately investigate the collusion that is fueling these foreclosures and having a significant negative impact on people’s lives, not to mention the significant negative impact on the overall real estate market, as foreclosed properties are being sold well below their market value and thus driving down the value of neighboring properties.

    Individuals employed by residential mortgage lenders appear to be colluding with real estate agents and property appraisers for their own personal financial gain. This collusion is shown in numerous instances where foreclosed properties are being listed with Real Estate Agents who are relatives of senior employees at local retail banks. In one such obvious case of collusion, the Senior Credit Manager of a local retail bank is sending foreclosed property listing to his son, who is a Real Estate Agent with a large real estate broker on the island. XXXXXX This is not marl road rumor or speculation.

    One only need check foreclosure listings on the real estate broker’s website, go down to the land registry with the block and parcel number of the listing, look at the back of the land register for that property and see which bank has a Charge over the property. Is it a coincidence that the Agent listing the foreclosed properties is the son of the Senior Credit Manager at the bank noted in the Charge on the property? At the very least, this is a clear conflict of interest. At worst, this is a case of senior bank employees pushing for the foreclosure of properties for personal financial gain. The Anti Corruption Commission must investigate to determine which it is.

    Given the amount of money involved and the negative impact on citizen’s lives, there should be a clear separation between the banks and real estate agents. The banks are not avoiding obvious conflicts of interest between their employees, who get to decide which customers get foreclosed, and the real estate agent who gets a commission from the sale. If local credit managers get to decide which customer’s mortgage is underperforming enough to be foreclosed, how can they then be allowed to list these foreclosures with close relatives and friends? The opportunity to take advantage of these close relationships is far too great to be allowed by the financial and real estate industries and law makers.

    Professionals in the financial industry are expected to disclose conflicts of interest. Why aren’t the retail lenders and real estate agents being held to the same standards of practice?

    • Anonymous says:

      Or just pay your bills as you promised and there is no problem.

      • DSR says:

        Am I to assume you have control of your future and know what is going to happen to you and your circumstances?

        No matter how someone budget, you are never sure of what will happen, so sad that because you have today and feel like you are in control, that you should project such negative inuendo out as if you really have control over what is to come…

        Not to worry, today for them, tomorrow for you or maybe even me…I pray with God help I will be abole to get through, but to be so prideful puffed is a crying same.

        • Anonymous says:

          Pathetic. If you cannot fund the facility that meant you got a home you lose your home. End of story. Get out and hand back the keys. Moaners like you make home buying more expensive for the rest of us.

      • J says:

        Yes, for some it is easier said than done coming from a person who has a mortgage and pays all the time but have came close many times due to unemployment, season work, interest rate increasing, hurricane to name a few only God knows how my family and I survived. This is coming from a person who is responsible, not a spender. Yes there are a few who are irresponsible but what about those who pay and work and work all their lives just to pay a mortgage to keep the roof over their heads but life truely happens and they just could not find the funds. Sickness, layoff etc. be careful how you speak as you never know when the shoe could come off your feet. We have to be sympathetic to each other.

        • Anonymous says:

          J none of these are excuses. Season work – plan accordingly. Interest rates – a known risk, do not over-borrow. Hurricanes – well not a reason for a default in the past decade, but get insurance. Unemployment is the only possible risk and the answer is to have savings of six months or a years expenditures. That is what people used to do and instead now they spend their cash on garbage and shopping trips to Miami. If they have misplaced priorities that is their problem.

      • Anonymous says:

        So, how does “just pay your bills” excuse the possible corruption and exploitation of conflicts of interest by bank employees and real estate agents? How does that address the possibility of collusion? You are using the same art of deflection that Trump and his supporters use. “Don’t look at my misdeeds, just look at what those people over there are doing”. Pathetic.

    • Anonymous says:

      The real issue is that the real estate market in Cayman is very thin, if you want, or need to sell today the price is going to be very low, if you can wait a year you might get close to what you are asking. No one is barred from selling their own house at whatever they want to ask for it, just don’t be surprised if it doesn’t sell before the bank wants its money back.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. Possibly one of the major reasons for quick foreclosures and non- satisfactory negotiations….insider trading. As they say, follow the money and the players. Unscrupulous individuals in many cases; and its nothing new, but maybe more organized.

    • Anonymous says:

      I do not support this claim of foreclosure crisis as is popular with the socialist handout crew are crying about.

      However I do not support dishonest unscrupulous acts either. If what you claim is true, you should report it. Crime stoppers anonymous tips works just as well for this type of illegal activity. Please do the right thing.

  12. elephant man says:

    What Cayman needs is a consumer protection board to combat the bank cartels, we can no longer stand back and allow the banks to push us around any longer.

    • Anonymous says:

      Even if you are no longer paying your mortgage?

      I’m not a big fan of banks and their fees, but even I agree that they have the right to try to get their money back from unpaid loans, and the only way to do that may be to sell the house.

    • Anon says:

      How can anyone say that a bank is pushing them around, unless that bank is operating outside of the provisions set out in the contract signed by the buyer and lender?

  13. Anonymous says:

    the banking system here is 3rd world, but at the same time, you borrow money, you pay it back, and if you don’t… there is recourse that the bank can take. Including foreclosure. If you don’t like it, don’t sign up for the debt in the first instance.

  14. Anonymous says:

    People are losing their homes and what does she do ? She goes talking to the banks. Publishing rates and fees,making a charge of 10 $ on a 25$ cheque therefor a legit practice.
    She should talk to the people and make a simple law that regulates banking behaviour to protect the consumer.
    Scotia btw does not charge a fee to cash a cheque.

    • Borrower says:

      Clearly you do not understand business or economics.

      As the Bible says the borrower will forever be a slave to the lender so the Minister talking to the banks (i.e the lender) is the first correct step.

      Banks are in the business for a profit. They lend money to make a profit. Without repayments and interest, banks will cease to exist.

      While I completely understand the plight of the customer, particularly when they hit hard times due to no fault of their own (divorce, loss of job, reduction in pay), people tend to look at the banks as just greedy and heartless but they fail to accept that if the bank just accepted hundreds of customers no longer paying their mortgages, where does the cash come from for the bank to continue to operate, to pay the bank employees, who will then also have no job if the bank fails.

      • Anon says:

        Sometimes, when divorce happens, it is their fault.

      • Anonymous says:

        If you bring up the bible, you clearly don’t understand anything.

        You should one day read the financial statements of banks, insurance companies and pharmaceutical industries. After that you might understand my point.

        The bible has nothing to do with anything.

        It has everything to do with excessive greed of shareholders and the lack of consumer protection. A government should find the right balance.

      • Anonymous says:

        Borrower, the money comes from insurance on the debts, the sale ifvthe debt to another institution, as well as interest rates which are hiked over the course of the loan, especially when in default. Banks never truly lose unless they write off the debt, which is rare. How many banks do you see failing in Cayman? How many bank employees losing jobs?

    • Anonymous says:

      The law needs changing to make it much faster and easier for banks to foreclose. The law is too lenient on debt-dodgers and that makes buying homes more expensive for those good people that honour their promises to repay money they borrow.

      • Anonymous says:

        One day it might be your turn……

      • Anonymous says:

        I work in this field (not at a bank) and can tell you it is very, very easy to foreclose on a property. The entire debt can be demanded with a one or two page letter, as can the arrears, and the only way to stop the process is to pay the entire debt. At the end of 3 months, the bank is free to sell. How is that lenient on ‘debt-dodgers’? You get 3 months to find the kind of money you definitely don’t have and can’t get, or you wouldn’t have needed a mortgage in the first place. There are many issues and sides to this, but the law being lenient is not one of them. Banks don’t even have to go to court anymore to have the judge fix the reserve sale price, which has incidentally lowered the costs of sale too. That’s all the oversight there ever was and now it’s gone in most cases.

    • Anonymous says:

      People are not paying their mortgages and refusing to let the bank take control of the property to pay the debt and what does she do? She goes mouthing off about help the debt dodgers. She should talk to the banks and the attorneys and make a simple law that makes it easier to foreclose to protect the banks and those that pay their mortgages and those that want new mortgages.

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree 100% . I have come across some homeowners that never make a payment in 6 mths. And when the banks tries to foreclose, it become a big problem while they play dress up. You cannot stay in a home that are not belongs to you for FREE. Straight up!

    • Anonymous says:

      You should educate yourself about bank fees. Scotia does not charge Non Account holders fees because they DO NOT offer the service. This means if a scotia client writes you a check you cannot go in there to cash it. You have no choice but to deposit it into wherever you hold a bank account and wait the clearing period. If you don’t have a bank account anywhere make sure you get cash!

  15. Anonymous says:

    OK. Poor and rich Caymanians. Form a credit Union, Make loans only to Union members but do not insist that they ever repay the loans they take out. Never be greedy enough to foreclose. Charge no interest on anyone saying they just can’t keep up. All that love and understanding will bankrupt you the first year.

    • Anonymous says:

      Check the published Gazettes on the government website and see how many foreclosures are being done by the local Credit Union.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Tara going after the “deadbeat and entitled” vote. That seems to be a key demographic.

  17. Anonymous says:

    tara….pass a law as they did in usa, that banks have to sell a foreclosed home for the FMV fair market value, rather than what they owe on loan? that way the people wouldnt lose the equity? or somewhere along the lines so they lose less?

  18. Anonymous says:

    CNS – how about a little facts to back up the conclusions that you are making in this article?

    Please go back and include some facts about 1. the number of foreclosures
    2. the timeline between the first default and the time the banks take action to foreclosure
    3. The number of times the borrower(s) defaulted and how frequently, before they started to catch up at the last minute when they realize the bank had had enough
    4. The borrowers to make their loan payments a priority in their overall budget (I.e not just how many times they asked for an extension with no basis or called their politician or the radio station to complain- those are not genuine efforts)
    5. the number of foreclosed homes compared to the number of loans that default at some point but which the banks were able to work with because the borrowers took responsibility and made their mortgage a priority.

    Do not regurgitate the garbage these people perpetuate to get elected and likewise the chorus of unfairness being sung by a sheer segment of the voting public that are actually pushing for this.

    • Anonymous says:

      You’ve highlighted the problem: that neither side (& I exclude CNS) has numbers (or releases numbers) to back up what they are saying.

      • Anonymous says:

        12:37 You are wrong, all Demand Notices are published in the Gazettes on the government website, therefore all of this information is public. The Lands and Survey Dept can also be checked for the sale amount of any property.

        • Anonymous says:

          Hopefully you are fairly deducting Jeff Webb and the like’s foreclosures that inflate the numbers.

          Please tell us where to find the details that confirm the banks did absolutely nothing to assist and the borrower’s tried their hardest to priotized their mortgage payments?

          If we look at the most recent foreclosed borrower who has taken to the news/airwaves to say how unjust Scotia is, it is pretty easy to see he is choosing his words wisely to suggest that Scotia foreclosed on him after only 3 months and for just $3k. Read between his carefully chosen words and you can tell that is not the full picture. Additionally, if he had diverted what he spent on fine clothes and watches that he is flossing in then perhaps he could stay up to date. Those of us who pay our mortgages on time do not blow money on the latest fashion before securing the roof over our head. At least he should take down those boasty pictures from Facebook.

        • Anonymous says:

          In which case I assume you can answer the question regarding numbers? Go ahead, I’m waiting.

        • Anonymous says:

          People that borrow from banks should make it the first thing they do each month is to pay the banks their loan fee, but many of them Jet off to Miami and do a lot of un-needed shopping or every week in the hair dressing parlors and bars and not taking it serious enough to repay the loan. If the banks did not fore close then they would all go broke and shut down and what do you think these islands would become. Think, just think, OK,.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Looking good Tara!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Here is an idea that I was force to adopt after my divorce and foreclosure. I just stopped borrowing from the bank, thats right nil…best move ever…now I got two times my first house deposit sitting in tech shares and watching it go up and up. Soon will buy some shares in those same banks. Ppl please just stop borrowing…its stupid

  21. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous@4:32 I hope you don’t choke on your self righteous indignation! The issue is wider than people simply living beyond their means and being deadbeats.

    It comes down to fairness and the expectation that our elected officials will have some common sense and backbone.

    There is absoutely no protection for homeowners who have fallen on hard times. People just don’t wake up and decide they are not going to pay their mortage!

    The sad reality is most households cannot withstand a little shock to their finances, much less a major one through lost of income or illness.

    This is where you expect the banks to work with people. Unfortnately the requirement for people applying for PR to own property means that they are often looking for a bargin and the bank don’t care who is paying them.

    This is where the protection comes in as well as the need to ensure that the banks don’t sell just to cover their costs and thereby wiping out the homeowners equity.

    But I guess when you are on the salary that our officals are on plus a guranteed gold plated pension as well, you only have to worry about banks and bussinessses making a profit!

    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      The home owner is of course at liberty to sell their house themselves to pay off the loan if they are convinced there is equity in it, or refinance. The problem is when people think simply because they have made payments in the past that there is equity – that is not always the case. Equity in the home only arises when the market value is greater than the balance of the loan, irrespective of how much you paid for the house or how much you have paid on you loan.

    • Anonymous says:

      1) Why should we expect the banks to work with people? Its a real philosophical question. And would you be willing to pay a higher mortgage/loan rate to know your bank was willing to work with other people who fall behind on their loan?

      2) Everyone is looking for a bargain when it comes to buying property. You are arguing that the public – all of us – should boycott short sales as a moral issue.

  22. Ann Eckspat says:

    What financial training and experience does Mrs. Rivers have?

  23. Anonymous says:

    cns…this article is full of false statements… and not by ms rivers surprisingly.
    the last thing a bank wants to do is foreclose….that is is their absolute last option.
    the real question is why people find themselves in that position?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Gee! Thanks Tara..for doing absolutely nothing…What a waste of time this one is ..nothing but excuses…

    Tara, remember the people sent you their to fix their problems not for you to tell them that you met with the bankers to tell them they need to advertise their fees so that in some fashion they may become more competitive and prices will go down..

    Remember the now mothballed Kurt Tibbetts? He tried to do the same thing with the gas companies by forcing them to put up signs…did it change anything? Absolutely not! Just like the two gas companies consistently inflate their prices, the banks do exactly the same thing..unregulated and with the blessing of our useless politicians.

    I hate to say it but we have lost any iota of a decent politician in these islands. Tara is full of herself now and power has gone to her head. The banks will feed her the lines they want to hear and make their idle threats of not lending money or that they will leave..Do you see anyone or anything leaving Cayman? Een the iguanas won’t leave!…We are being inundated with new permanent residents and our population and economy continues to grow..We the Caymanian people, however are left to the mercy of these worthless politicians who can’t see any further than their large paychecks and perks. so we continue to suffer while they become fat cats.

    Her time will come…mark my words!

    • Ann Eckspat says:

      By Jove! I think you have it, Anonymous 5:08!

    • Anonymous says:

      What do you expect her to do. Waive her magic wand and eliminate debt to banks. This is not a problem for Government to solve for people. Not all of the problems of electors is solved by Government.

      • Anonymous says:

        What I, or any citizen of this island expects her to do is to stand up and be counted, not be complicit and lead around by her “owners..”

        She needs to stop towing the politically correct line and understand that the people voted her in, not because of her good looks or her ability to deflect real concerns when they happen but to do something when faced with a crisis.

        As a politician, I find her full of hot air and she has just the same mentality as any the other that have come along..They go out on the campaign trail promising changes but once elected and the sweet smell of money and power merely drifts by their nostrils they become immune to the reason they were sent there and their focus becomes one of ensuring that they please their “owners” and line their pockets until the next time they can get out and lie to the voters..

        • Anonymous says:

          Every one of the elected members is full of hot air, some more than others, it’s how they managed to float to the top and beat out their competition

      • Anonymous says:

        How is it the banks fault if you get fired, divorced, or borrowed more than you can afford. money, you said you would pay it back. you did not keep your word. And it is the banks fault?

        • Anonymous says:

          Borrowed more than you can afford? That IS actually the lender’s fault – they should be exercising common sense and ensuring that they only lend what they have established that borrower can afford to repay. That’s just good business sense.

          Change of circumstance is difficult and in most cases, neither parties fault. Rather than simply throwing people on the street (where they could well then become Government’s problem), ruining their creditworthiness and depriving them of any equity that they might have built up, there should be a legally proscribed and enforceable (i.e. Court ordered) period of debt counselling and management that allows them a chance to resolve the problem (getting a new job, selling the property at a fair market value and repaying the loan, agreeing a new schedule of repayment – whatever is appropriate). There should also be a realistic time period allowed to achieve that. Only if that fails should foreclosure be allowed by a Court.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Time for the Government to enact a Housing Trust Law. Have everyone pay into a pool of funds, lend money at a lower interest rate so that those persons who are paying into this Trust can access cheaper funds. Part of the problem in Cayman is the small population. Everything is much more expensive and the native population is feeling the brunt of what happens when big banks are more focused on making money for shareholders rather than being corporate citizens. There is not much risk to spread around and banks are not going to be minded to lower interest rates to appease a few folks.

    the Government should establish a Trust along the lines of which obtains in Jamaica and elsewhere. Employees/employers contribute to the Trust and only after you have been contributing for say 2 years can you access the funds in the Trust. At some point in time the only thing that will enable persons from losing their homes is if the risk that banks are taking in lending monies for homes is spread over a large pool of persons. As some folks are hell bent on ensuring that the population remains at 30K, the issue of foreclosures etc will always be an issue.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I’m sickened by the monthly fees I see from XXXXXX. It’s not like this money goes towards amazing customer service, or products.

    As for the foreclosures, it is simple. Live within your means, save money for a rainy day and budget. 99% of people who do this will be fine. Being Caymanian and not being able to pay a mortgage is not related. It happens the world over. Stop complaining, you signed the deal, abide by it.

  27. Anonymous says:

    What? If you cannot pay your debts you lose your home. That is the deal. Those that try to stay in homes when they default increase the lending costs for the good moral people who pay what they owe. I cannot see why so much energy is wasted on looking after deadbeats.

  28. SMH says:

    She’s a wasted talent lots of fluffy words and another committee must be formed to produce a report to buy time is her style.

    Book smarts does not mean you should be in management. SMH

  29. Anonymous says:

    According to the fee schedule, the stories of $10 to cash a $25 check must be lies. I suspect the stories of foreclosure after a “few” missed payments for less than market value are also lies or exaggerations.

    • Anonymous says:

      You need to look to the bottom of the PDF, to the non-customer’s section (non-account holders). RBC, the Government’s bank, charges $10 to cash a cheque for non-customers. That is, people without a bank account, or who need the money now. (Because if you had a bank account, and could wait, you’d just deposit the checque and not be having this conversation.) So, if you get your Government cheque (child maintenance through the court, poor relief, etc.) and walk over to RBC and say ‘cash this so I can pay bus fare home’ they charge you $10.

      From the PDF: FCB will also charge you $10, ScotiaBank just won’t do it. For a non-customer Fidelity will only cash Fidelity cheques so our hypothetical Government cheque holder is out of luck. Butterfield is free and CNB is $1. According to the information now published. So everyone walk over to Butterfield. (Though based on other transactions I’ve tried with them I wouldn’t get my hopes up.)

      Before beating up the banks too much, remember, part of the problem here is the banks have an ‘antiquated’ cheque clearance system so they don’t seem to know for a few days if the cheque they’ve given you cash for is even good. (Remember all those bounced cheques stores used to display to embarass people who had passed bad cheques in the good old days when you could still pay by cheque? Also, they’re not making any money off of your cashing a cheque as a non-customer (other than the bank fee on the payee) so the cheque cashing is actually a loss to them when you think of staff time and the contingent cost of keeping enough cash on hand for both your cheque and one of their customers coming in and wanting cash for something.

      So, as with most things, what we’re actually arguing about is what is a ‘fair’ profit to make on a ‘necessary service’. (And what is a fair cost.) Whether its cashing a cheque, a gallon of milk, a kwh of electricity or a gallon of tap water.

  30. Anonymous says:

    so in a nutshell, nothing will be done regarding foreclosures for the next several years even after various current MLAs assured the voting public that this issue will be addressed while blowing hot air from their soapboxes prior to the election. Something needs to be done urgently as the foreclosure does not only have a catastrophic effect on the delinquent borrower but also has the domino effect of lowering the other apartment selling prices in a strata through n fault of those property owners.

    • Anonymous says:

      lol..stop being gullible..a politician will say whatever is necessary to get elected when they are campaigning..

      We don’t need politicians, we need statesmen, men of mettle, men and women that loved their country and went to bat for their people and not for the love of money, people like, Ormond Panton, Jim Bodden, Benson Ebanks, Miss Annie and the like…

      Unfortunately, those days are long gone and won’t ever come back..What we are left with now are people like Tara, that will say anything to get elected, for the power, the money and definitely not the people.

  31. Anonymous says:

    In the UK all the major financial institutions have hardship units that will re-negotiate debts when things go wrong for their customers. Typically, and assuming the situation is genuine, the lender will suspend interest and all other charges then accept a token payment of £1 per £1000 owed for an initial period of six or twelve months to give the debtor some breathing space. Does it surprise me that banks here won’t do that? No! This is third-world economics – get used to it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Most foreclosed loans have a long history of failure to pay, typically a couple of years or more, with the borrower making the odd payment and restarting the clock. Constant chasing to even get those odd payments. The UK has credit reference agencies that record this information, most borrowers try to keep off the bad list as they know it will affect their phone contracts, utility bills, credit cards, and any future loans. Here things exist in isolation, you can be months behind on a mortgage and still get a new credit card from another bank. The bank I work for will restructure the loan if there’s a reasonable expectation that it will work, but more often than not it’s just a can kicking exercise, Having a hardship unit pushes up costs, those costs are spread across all borrowers, good and bad, UK banks won’t advertise that fact. UK banks also have ‘full recourse’ which means they can access any of your assets and income in order to repay the mortgage for up to 7 years. Finally the UK has a fully functioning social charter paying benefits and payments to those out of work, which of course we don’t to the same degree.

    • Anonymous says:

      Those banks also have significantly larger client pools and their risk aversion is subsequently lower. Don’t compare apples and oranges.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Unlike the UK, no Leasehold Land rights either. There are a lot of real estate rules that simply don’t exist in the Cayman Islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t confuse Leasehold with Tennancy. Just because you signed a lease on you apartment doesn’t mean its a Leasehold.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Most banks in EU jurisdictions foreclose 6 months after first default, unless you have caught up.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good. The end of debtors prisons was a sad day for those that honour their promises.

      • Gogetter says:

        Mr Dart where are you? Come to the rescue as you have done in the past

      • Anonymous says:

        What debtors prison. Where is the prison? Who puts people there? When does not paying your bills become criminal. When making others take care of your excesses that takes money from our family, your just the same as a thief. We all are ask to pay for your lack of integrity. I know so many good people that live simple lives and own their own homes. They save, they work, they own their homes. They had good times and saved, the bad times came. They had and have their home. They are what makes the island. They are ask to pay for others.

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