In a game changing move to create a mix of financing opportunities for low income earners, the National Housing Trust (NHT) has partnered with Credit Unions to set up a Housing Microfinance Loan Programme for contributors earning $30,000 weekly or less.

These contributors will be able to access credit of up to $1.5 million, to help meet their respective housing needs.

The first agreement under the partnership was signed on Friday June 30, with the Community and Workers of Jamaica Cooperative Credit Union, C&WJ. Agreements with other Credit Unions are to follow.

Under the partnership, funds will be made available for on-lending to current and new contributors to repair or improve their existing homes or build their own homes.

Contributors will be able to borrow a maximum of $850,000 at any one point, up to $1.5 million. The loans will be offered with tenure of up to five years for services such as titling, utilities installation, land purchase, down payments, new incremental construction, completion of units which are at various stages of construction as well as other housing related expenses. With interest rates of six per cent for secured loans and nine per cent for unsecured loans, the programme represents the most competitive microfinance rates on the market. Persons who are not current NHT contributors must become registered to take advantage of this initiative.

Speaking at Friday’s signing, NHT Managing Director Martin Miller said the agreement has laid the foundation for future partnerships with other financial institutions. “Following a period of open discussions, we were able to achieve a significant agreement that we are excited about. We are sure that this will have a meaningful impact, on our contributors that overtime will be replicated across the landscape” he said.

In the meantime, President of C&WJ Pete Smith said his institution was pleased to be the first to sign on to the partnership. He classified it as an “excellent programme that together we can only make better in helping Jamaicans to access funds for housing”. Mr Smith added that the NHT should be lauded for producing a great product.

The NHT will periodically review the partnership agreement to include loan amount, terms and qualifying criteria with a view to ensure that a positive impact on contributors is being made.

CAPTION: Above: – NHT Managing Director Martin Miller (second right) and President of Community & Workers of Jamaica Cooperative Credit Union, Pete Smith sign the agreement for the Housing Microfinance Loan Programme. Looking on are NHT Senior General manager for Corporate Services Neil Miller (second left) and Assistant General Manager for Legal Conveyancing Camille Chevannes. Standing are NHT’s Assistant General Council Helen Pitterson (left) and C&WJ’s Chief Legal Officer Sacha Riley (right).

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