Demand for mortgages still high, CIBC says

Barbados Today:  

The tough economic times facing the country have not deterred Barbadians from seeking to fulfil their dreams of owning a home.

One of the island’s leading commercial banks is reporting that residents continue to seek mortgages, at a time when interest rates are low.

Director of Retail Banking Channels at CIBC FirstCaribbean Michelle Whitelaw said the market remained competitive, but the bank continued to do good business.

“We have been holding our own. We are meeting the competition,” Whitelaw said.

“We have 95 per cent financing on our mortgages and our interest rates . . . are very competitive,” she added.

Following the removal of the minimum interest rate of 2.5 per cent by the Central Bank back in April 2015, the interest on mortgages and loans has dropped, albeit not at the same pace as interest rates on deposits, which have plummeted to virtually nothing at between 0.01 to 0.15 per cent.

In an effort to get more Barbadians to borrow from a highly liquid banking system, commercial banks have been offering, in some cases, up to 100 per cent financing, with interest rates as low as six per cent.

Whitelaw said CIBC would continue to go aggressively after this business.

“So we are out there . . .[and] the response has been very good. We reach out to not just our existing clients but new clients as well,” she said in a brief comment to reporters on the sidelines of the bank’s Celebrate Love and Celebrate Home Ownership promotion today at its banking centre at the Dome Mall in Warrens, St Michael.

During the month of February the bank is celebrating a “month of love” with clients through the promotion, which is designed to get more Barbadians interested in accessing mortgages, taking advantage of today’s observance of Valentine’s Day to showcase various concepts of home ownership and furnishing.

“The message for our clients is that in this month of love we want to hold your hands to achieve that wonderful dream of owning your home,” Whitelaw said.

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