B’dians facing challenges repaying mortgages

First Citizens Bank (Barbados) Limited’s Chief Executive Officer, Interim, Carole Eleuthere-JnMarie, says that while there is still a demand for mortgages, Barbadians are finding it difficult to repay.

She shared this while speaking on the sidelines of a closing ceremony of the First Citizens UWI Internship Programme on Friday at the bank’s Broad Street branch.

“There is the demand for mortgages. The issue though is that ability to pay, because the economy, it is really a rough environment for everybody. So the challenge for most persons is the ability to repay and although interest rates are what I consider to be an all-time low, it is still a very tough challenge for persons because the price of goods went up and now we are looking at some of the new measures that the new Prime Minister has implemented.”

Eleuthere-JnMarie disclosed that, presently, “on average, the rates depending on whether it is for mortgage or whether it is for unsecure facility is anywhere between four per cent and five, six per cent”.

Turning her attention to speak about the financial environment at this time, the Chief Executive Officer, Interim stated “it is a challenge for all of us.”

“The entire banking sector is feeling the pain because the economy has not really grown significantly over the last few years and now we are in the middle of a debt restructure negotiation … So we expect that the journey going forward is going to be a real hard one for the financial service sector as a whole.”

She added, “for this year so far, minus the debt restructure, we were on a positive trajectory. However, we have to take into consideration the debt restructure and the impact before year end.”(MG)

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