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Acknowledging the demand for more affordable housing solutions in Jamaica, Delroy Scarlett, Chief of Retail Sales at JN Bank, points out that increasing the role of the private sector in housing finance, through the National Housing Trust’s (NHTs) External Financing Mortgage Programme, is a positive move for the country.

Under the EFMP, NHT contributors are able to apply for their full NHT benefits through an expanded pool of financing institutions, ranging from commercial banks, including JN Bank, credit unions and building societies. The EFMP was introduced in 2023 to replace the Joint Financing Mortgage Programme.

Mr Scarlett said housing remains a key driver of economic development through its impact on employment, savings, investment, and labour productivity, and therefore, the EFMP offers an avenue for more to finance homeownership.

“Housing plays an important role in the growth of families and communities and I anticipate that the EFMP will facilitate economic transformation, creating more opportunities for people to achieve financial freedom,” he said.

He said by providing greater access to mortgage financing, the EFMP also undergirds the NHT’s drive to leverage its resources to offer more affordable housing to Jamaicans.

“The EFMP positions the NHT to channel resources into developing more affordable housing solutions for contributors in a significant way. This represents the greatest need of the housing market currently. The commitment of the NHT and its financing partners is unwavering, as together we have an even greater resolve to improve the housing delivery programme to meet the increasing demand by building and financing more houses in Jamaica,” Mr Scarlett noted.

Mr Scarlett emphasised that a notable part of the EFMP is that the applicable NHT interest rates apply, despite the loan being underwritten at an external entity. This means contributors will still benefit from the same rates as if they walked through the doors of the NHT.

“The EFMP opens the mortgage market, giving customers more options for accessing their NHT loan when buying a house or land on the open market. Of note is that the mortgagor will not be negatively impacted, as the interest payment on the NHT’s portion of the loan will be the same as if he/she were to access funds directly from the NHT,” Mr Scarlett stressed.

The Retail Sales Chief said NHT contributors interested in applying for a mortgage loan, using their NHT Benefit, will need to register on the NHT’s online portal, either via the NHT’s website or mobile app and then request their eligibility status. From the portal, the applicant will also need to send the eligibility information to their preferred financial partner to facilitate the mortgage application process.

Under the EFMP, all NHT contributors earning more than $30,000 per week, must apply for some NHT loans at one of the NHT’s External Financing Mortgage partner institutions. For example, at JN Bank Mr Scarlett said contributors can apply for loans under the EFMP to purchase property on the open market, for construction or home improvement.

Contributors earning $30,000 per week or less, will continue to apply directly at NHT branch offices. Contributors who require more than their NHT entitlements, or who are co-applying with contributors in a higher income band, must apply for both their NHT benefit and the additional amount, at one of the external financial partners.

“With the EFMP we are giving more persons the opportunity to become homeowners and the process is easy and seamless. Additionally, customers are exposed to several other solutions that we provide such as personal loans, line of credit, credit card and insurance, all of which may come in handy at some point along the road to homeownership” Mr Scarlett said.

The EFMP was designed to optimise loan processing and accessibility at the NHT. Mr Scarlett said the programme is also expected to improve the ease of doing business for customers who are likely to utilise institutions familiar to them.

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