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Housing Conference to Shape Gov’t Policy

SECRETARY GENERAL of the Caribbean Association of Housing Finance Institutions Joseph Bailey is projecting that the staging of a regional housing conference will assist regional governments to shape policy that will result in using the provision of housing as a means for economic development.

The two-day conference will be held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, from October 6-7, under the theme ‘Transforming Regional Communities through Housing and Economic Development’. It is anticipated that representatives from the association’s 12-member countries in the region and other territories will attend the event.

Key partners in the hosting of the historic assembly will include the Jamaica National Building Society, the National Housing Trust, the Victoria Mutual Building Society, and the Inter-American Development Bank.

VARIOUS PRESENTATIONS

Minister of Transport, Works and Housing Dr Omar Davies will deliver the keynote address. The conference will include presentations on: Latin American & Caribbean housing ass-essment; housing affordability and contributory factors; private/public partnership in housing and climate change – implications for sustainable development.

Putting the conference in perspective, Bailey said, “In many jurisdictions, governments are taking a new look at the role housing can play in growing their gross domestic product and, at this regional housing forum, we want to send a message to the leadership of our member countries that housing should be given a full place in economic development, with renewed investment in the sector.

He maintained that housing has the potential to transform cities, and expansion of the sector should be taken seriously, as the records show that housing was the main contributor to the revitalisation generation of many cities worldwide. A new thought in some major cities is the development of housing covenants which seeks to reward effort through improved housing offers. Greater priority is placed on developing intermediate housing, that is, housing for those who cannot afford to access the private market, to rent and buy, but who do not qualify for social housing.

“When the housing sector thrives, cities improve because construction generates employment. When this happens, residents will seek to refurbish their homes; buildings in communities will be renovated; and this improves the overall ambience of the city,” Bailey affirmed.

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CASHFI Conference Focus: Housing as a Means of Economic Development

mr-baileySecretary General of the Caribbean Association of Housing Finance Institutions (CASHFI) Joseph Bailey is projecting that the staging of a Regional Housing Conference, will assist regional governments to shape policy that will result in using the provision of housing as a means for economic development.

The two-dayconference will be held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, from October 6-7, 2014, under the theme Transforming Regional Communities through Housing and Economic Development.”  It is anticipated that representatives from Association’s 12-member countries in the region and other territories will attend the event.

Key partners in the hosting of the historic assembly will include the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), the National Housing Trust (NHT), the Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Minister of Transport Works and Housing, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies will deliver the keynote address. And, the conference will include presentations on: Latin American & Caribbean Housing Assessment; Housing affordability and contributory factors;  Private/Public Partnership in Housing, Climate Change – Implications for Sustainable Development; The Course of the Jamaican Economy; Revitalisation of Cities – the Canadian Experience; and Law & Order, Security and Stability in Communities.

Putting the conference in perspective, Mr. Bailey said, “In many jurisdictions governments are taking a new look at the role housing can play in growing their Gross Domestic Product (GDP); and, at this regional housing forum, we want to send a message to the leadership of our member countries that: Housing should be given a full place in economic development with renewed investment in the sector.

He maintained that housing has the potential to transform cities; and expansion of the sector should be taken seriously, as the records show that housing was the main contributor to the revitalisation generation of many cities, worldwide. A new thought in some major cities is the development of Housing Covenant which seeks to reward effort through improved housing offer.  Greater priority is placed on developing intermediate housing; that is housing for those who cannot afford to access the private market, to rent and buy but who do not qualify for social housing.

“When the housing sector thrives, cities improve because construction generates employment. When this happens, residents will seek to refurbish their homes; buildings in communities will be renovated; and this improves the overall ambience of the city,” Mr. Bailey affirmed.

He added that one of the objectives of the conference is to contribute to shaping Caribbean policy that will result in housing playing a vital role in economic development; and assist the region to meet the housing needs of its population which is growing faster than current new housing stock.

“It is our hope that the concept for a housing policy will emerge from this conference, to set the framework for a paradigm shift. This policy should make housing affordable and allow housing development to impact economic development. Consequently, we will advocate for the appropriate use of resources to reduce the housing deficit in the region,” he said.

General Manager of the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) and CASHFI Chairman Earl Jarrett concurred with Mr. Bailey.

“As a building society, we at Jamaica National recognise that housing is at a critical juncture in the Caribbean; and, it is our hope that the conference will provide right solutions to demonstrate to policymakers that housing can benefit regional economies. We will also use the opportunity to identify right solutions to address the housing deficit,” he said.

The findings of the CASHFI conference will be published in the IDB Findings: New Study on Latin America & Caribbean; Housing Opportunities for the Majority publication, early next year.

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Message from Joseph Bailey, General Secretary

mr-baileyThe Caribbean Association of Housing Finance Institutions (CASHFI), in partnership with the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS) and the National Housing Trust (NHT), will convene its annual conference on Monday, October 6 – Tuesday, October 7, 2014, at the Pegasus Hotel, Kingston, Jamaica.  Under the theme “Transforming Regional Communities through Housing and Economic Development” we expect attendees to the two-day conference to come from the thirteen member-countries of CASHFI and other jurisdictions in the region and beyond.

Presentations on: Latin American & Caribbean Housing Assessment; Housing affordability and contributory factors by distinguished panelists, Private/Public Partnership in Housing; Climate Change – Implications for Sustainable Development; the Course of the Jamaican Economy; Regeneration of Cities – the Canadian Experience; and Law and Order, Security and Stability in communities.

Specially identified experts will share their thoughts and provide insights into a new set of ideas around what is considered good housing policy.  The region faces serious challenges in the management of cities and must develop new practical ideas about the functioning of cities and a new perception of the performance of urban areas.

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Mortgage Indemnity Insurance Can Transform Housing Market

Patrick Thelwell (right), General Manager of the Jamaica Mortgage Bank goes through the Mortgage Insurance Act with Earl Jarrett (centre), Chairman of the Caribbean Association of Housing Finance Institutions (CASHFI) and Joseph Bailey (second left), Secretary General of CASHFI at the at the Mortgage Indemnity Insurance Dialogue at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston on Friday, November 9.

Patrick Thelwell, General Manager of the Jamaica Mortgage Bank (JMB), says an expansion in the level of coverage as well as the use of Mortgage Indemnity Insurance (MII) could substantially increase mortgage availability in Jamaica.

This is as he revealed that the MII Fund, administered by the JMB to provide MII protection, has a surplus of $ 1.103 billion. To date, the Fund has issued some 23,000 policies with a total sum insured of $638 million.

Mr. Thelwell said a new proposal to Cabinet has recommended that the insurable amount for the MII be increased from 90 percent to 97 per cent of the value of the property. He pointed out that increased use of this insurance would make home ownership more easily accessible to the public and could result in a significant expansion in mortgages .

“One of the main hindrances to home ownership is the large deposit required,” Mr. Thelwell stated. “If we can bring the deposit down…. we could get more people into homes.”

Mr. Thelwell was addressing a forum with representatives from financial institutions and the real estate sector, on Friday, November 9 at the Terra Nova Hotel in St. Andrew.

Mortgage Indemnity Insurance provides protection for mortgage lenders against loss where borrowers default on their loan. This allows lenders to take the risk of covering a higher percentage of the appraised value or selling price of the property, resulting in lower deposit requirements for borrowers.

“The risk of default, which is a major risk for most financial institutions, is wiped out,” he said. Through the use of MII, “you will have better pricing strategies because you don’t have to deal with the credit risks; it also allows you to better manage the bad debt portfolio.”

Earl Jarrett, Chairman of the Caribbean Association of Housing Finance Institutions, welcomed the new proposal to be implemented by the JMB and said the product will provide an opportunity for mortgage lenders to inject more capital into loans and will allow more Jamaicans to own a home.

“Financial institutions need to be mindful of the risks on their balance sheet and must now look at the stress that they can take,” Mr. Jarrett said. “This programme provides an opportunity to strengthen their balance sheet.”

Mr. Thelwell affirmed that financial institutions making use of MII would be able to offer a wider choice of mortgage instruments, improved service and even lower mortgage rates. And, the JMB General Manager said that, “for the last 10 years, we have not been writing a lot of mortgages indemnity insurance because the mortgage lenders are not using the MII product as effectively as they ought to.”

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CASHFI Breakfast Dialogue

Joe Bailey (left), Secretary General of Caribbean Association of Housing Finance Institutions (CASHFI) makes a point to Earl Jarrett (centre), Chairman of CASHFI and Noel Hann, Financial Consultant at a CASHFI Breakfast Dialogue on the “Mortgage Dilemma” at the Terra Nova Hotel on Thursday, March 22. Mr. Hann made a presentation on the non-performing loans and mortgage arrears affecting the sector.

Non-performing loans and mortgage arrears being experienced by the housing finance sector in Jamaica were the key focus of a seminar by the Caribbean Association of Housing Finance Institutions (CASHFI).

Financial Expert, Noel Hann, the key presenter at the seminar, said that unemployment and alternate investment schemes were responsible for the increase in arrears. The seminar was held on Thursday, March 22 at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew under the theme, ‘The Mortgage Dilemma.’

“The phenomena of the Ponzi schemes, or Alternate Investment Schemes, all of which went ‘belly-up’, caused many Jamaicans to lose millions of dollars,” Hann stated. “It is said that many individuals mortgaged their homes and placed the proceeds in these schemes.”

The problem in the housing market is that some persons who purchased more expensive properties, “expected that their mortgage payments would have been met by the returns from these schemes,” he stated.

Mr. Hann also noted that the decline in the economies of the United States of America and the United Kingdom also impacted the level of arrears locally.

Lower rental income and collateral values were other factors cited by Mr. Hann. He explained that, “The fallout in rental income impacted borrowers who depended on rental income for mortgage payments.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Hann has recommended that the Statistical Institute of Jamaica and the Bank of Jamaica collaborate to make relevant statistical data available to capture information on the housing industry.

“There are several mortgage lending institutions in Jamaica, but no central point for garnering information on the housing industry. Except for the Land Registry, who knows the extent of the number of homes repossessed over the last year?” he asked.

He said if this information were captured in a structured way, then financial institutions would be able to use the data for more in-depth analysis.

In response to the findings, Earl Jarrett, Chairman of CASHFI, stated that the dialogue was timely as it highlighted the assistance provided by housing institutions to those who fall into arrears.

“There is a widely held perception that financial institutions throw persons out of their homes when the mortgage is in arrears. On the contrary, every effort is made to offer mortgagors viable solutions such as a moratorium on loans and rescheduling loan payments. Repossession is the last resort”, he stated. CASHFI is an association of building societies and housing financial institutions in the Caribbean. The organisation seeks to promote and facilitate the development of housing finance systems in the Caribbean; and assist in improving housing standards. The Dialogue was attended by a cross section of representatives from building societies, commercial banks, government, real estate and education sectors.

View the CASHFI Breakfast Dialogue video

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Housing Stakeholders Call for Empirical Industry Data

Earl Jarrett (left), Chairman of the Caribbean Association of Housing Finance Institutions (CASHFI) greets Howard Johnson, President of the Realtors Association of Jamaica at a CASHFI breakfast dialogue where Noel Hann, Financial Consultant made a presentation last week Thursday, March 22 at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston on the non-performing loans and mortgage arrears being experienced by the housing sector in Jamaica.

Earl Jarrett, Chairman of the Caribbean Association of Housing Finance Institutions (CASHFI), says that Government agencies should collaborate with academic institutions to improve the level and depth of analysis in the housing sector.

Mr. Jarrett made the recommendation at the CASHFI Breakfast Dialogue at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston last Thursday, (March 22).  Representatives from building societies, commercial banks, government, education and the real estate sector, pointed out that one of the basic issues in ‘The Mortgage Dilemma’ under discussion, was that relevant data on the sector are not  readily available.

“Come up with a data collection method,” Mr. Jarrett urged participants, who included Ms. Sonia Jackson, Director General of the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), and Dr. Carol Archer, Dean of the Faculty of the Built Environment at the University of Technology (UTech).  “I am certain that CASHFI and the Building Societies Association of Jamaica will be happy to work in collaboration to ensure we have that data.”

Dr. Archer agreed that basic research was needed in the sector. She suggested that, “We really need to look to the research institutions and if we are not satisfied in the ones currently, then we should create one that can provide such information.”

Howard Johnson, President of the Realtors Association of Jamaica, pointed out that the absence of critical data was having a negative impact on the effective operation of the industry.

Property valuations could be skewed by up to 60 per cent because of a lack of comparative data, Mr. Johnson stated. He said the Realtors Association was sometimes criticized by lenders, when the lenders themselves had outdated panels of property valuers.

The Realtors Association President indicated that it was the Real Estate Board which licensed professionals in the sector and, “the fact of the matter is that we cannot regulate persons operating outside of our Association.”

The call for industry data came within the wide ranging discussions that emerged at the forum, which examined the plight of mortgagors, current competition in the industry, and varying aspects of foreclosures, based on a study, “The Mortgage Dilemma” presented by Financial Consultant,  Noel Hann.

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2007 Cashfi Conference

2007 CASHFI CONFERENCE

June 08, 2007

Hilton Hotel & Conference Centre (Trinidad)

 The Caribbean Association of Housing Finance Institutions (CASHFI)’s 2007 conference – The Impact of Globalisation and Regulatory Reform with CSME on the Sustainable Development of Housing Finance Institutions, was held in Trinidad. In her welcome address, Ingrid Lashley, Managing Director/CEO of Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance Company Limited (TTMF) stated, “that as technocrats, we have a particular responsibility to ensure that full understanding of our peculiar area of the financial services sector is wide spread.

We have the responsibility to make others appreciate that the need for the customer service in our subset of this wider market is unique and must be comprehensive”. Lashley also expressed, “We want to promote the message that in consideration of issues that affect the financial services sector, we must pay particular attention to those facets of the sector that move us away from consumerism and ensure that, regionally, we cater to communities, to homes and to the well being of our people, while at the same time, ensure that the systems in support of the financial services sector, remain equitable, profitable and consistent across the wider community.” Senator, the Honourable Christine Sahadeo, Minister in the Ministry of Finance, the feature speaker at the opening ceremony, indicated that for the first time in the history of Trinidad and Tobago, there existed a comprehensive vision of shelter for families, among its main features being: * Higher loan amounts due to rising prices for real estate * Lower interest rates; * Increase in the limit for ‘approved mortgage company’ loans taking into consideration the rising prices; * Reduced costs to the home owner; * Home improvement and land loans; and * Providing loans for renovations and maintenance and the development of other financial opportunities. Minister Sahadeo also revealed that, the Government, in recognition of the impact of legal costs and ancillary charges associated with the purchase of property, had recently approved standardized mortgage documentation for use by all lenders under the approved mortgage company programme.

 The Minister said that while this may seem a technical improvement, it would reflect very real dollars and cents to the prospective homeowners. She added that * the new demand mortgage format will result in reduced legal work by attorneys and therefore the implied reduction in fees; * it allows more flexibility for future lending by the mortgagor/homeowner and less costs to the lender in the event of default; * low transaction costs will result in portability. At the conference, other presentations were made by: Jerry Blenman, Principal Consultant – Calidad Investments, Barbados ; Kenneth Brown, President CASHFI; Esmee Rawlins-Charles, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Housing, Trinidad & Tobago; and Joe Bailey, Secretary General, CASHFI. The consensus at the end of the ‘think tank’ session was that the conference had achieved its objectives and that CASHFI was better poised to maintain its role to ensure that, in home financing, every citizen of our respective nations is afforded the opportunity to achieve a standard of living that allows for good health, welfare and well being.

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The Executive Committee Board Meeting Of Cashfi – Friday December 10, 2004

The  Executive Committee Board meeting of CASHFI will convene at the Biscayne Bay Marriott Hotel, 1633 North Bayshore Drive, Miami, Florida, Friday, December 10, 2004, commencing at 9:00 a.m.

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Cashfi Shelter Conference – October 20-21 2005 – Postponed

The regional shelter conference under the theme “Challenges of the Housing Market in the 21st Century”, which was set for October 20-21, 2005, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Montego Bay, Jamaica, has been postponed to May 2006.

In due course the exact dates and other details will be posted here.

CASHFI apologises for any inconvenience caused by the postponement of this important conference and invites interested persons/institutions to watch for the new dates.

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Cashfi Shelter Conference – October 20-21 2005

The Caribbean Association of Housing Finance Institutions (CASHFI) will convene a major regional shelter conference October 20-21, 2005, with Montego Bay, Jamaica, as the venue.  “Challenges of the Housing Market in the 21st Century” will be the general theme of the conference with sub-themes being:

  • Global market developments and the implications for delivering affordable housing for the future.  We expect that given harmonization of industry practices (underwriting standards, information sharing between countries e.g. credit databases etc.) envisaged under the CSME, there will emerge cross-border investment opportunities for financial institutions/mortgage service providers.  The conference will explore how the new developments will translate into cheaper and better loan funding generally.
  • Disaster mitigation and sustainable shelter development.  Special emphasis will be given to experiences and best practices.  The disaster experienced by residents in communities inJamaica following the 2004 hurricane, as well as the significant loss of housing stock inGrenada, are fresh in mind.  We need to encourage sustainable housing standards and promote strict adherence to building codes and best practices to minimize effect of disaster.

We have solicited the participation of the International Finance Corp. Washington D.C., the World Bank, the CSME Secretariat, the OAS, US-AID and UN-ECLA, and other experts and visionaries, some of whom have already confirmed presentations.
gage providers and companies must put in place strategies to meet their mission statement and “vision” for the future, given the new market environment and customer demands.  Be a part of this forum.

Who Should Attend:

  • Mortgage bankers and representatives of lending institutions
  • Retail bankers
  • Credit risks managers/companies
  • Government housing policy makers, administration and officials
  • Urban planners
  • Investment fund managers
  • Housing finance and securities regulators
  • Insurance companies
  • Management consultants
  • Real estate developers
  • Industry leaders, managers and professionals in shelter development and disaster mitigation.
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