Struggling home owners can now apply for cash

| 04/01/2012

Underwater-House.jpg(CNS): Government officials confirmed Tuesday that the finance ministry is now taking applications from Caymanian homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgages under the “Save the Mortgage” programme which is being financed from cash donated by the Dart Group as part of the West Bay Road swap. Application forms are now available on the government website and qualified people can submit their completed forms to the ministry to be considered for up to $20,000 of assistance to save their homes. Almost anyone who is more than three months overdue with their mortgage payments and whose lender is willing to restructure their loan can apply.

Government has $2.5milllion to distribute to Caymanian homeowners to a maximum of $20,000 per home owner which means government can assist around 125 home owners with the funds at its disposal.

Bush revealed in his New Year’s message that a committee has now been established to administer the programme and with assistance from banks holding the home loans the committee will assess the applications and “for those which merit assistance” Bush said an initial $12,000, with the possibility of subsequent assistance for up to three further mortgage payments will be made. The maximum amount an individual home owner will be able to collect from the progamme will be $20,000.

The premier has also stated that the money will go directly to the financial institutions holding the mortgages and not the homeowner.

Applicants will need to ensure that their bank or mortgage lender agrees to the additional charge which government will take on the property as the award is a long term interest free loan to be paid back over fifty years. The money for the home saving project is part of a $5million cash donation made by Dart last month when government entered into a formal agreement to give the developer a 2500 foot stretch of the West Bay Road in exchange for the financial contribution, the construction of the Esterely Tibbetts by-pass extension into West Bay and associated road expansions in the district.

See mortgage programme application form below.  The completed application and relevant documentation can be submitted to Kristy Watler ( in the minister of finance at the GAB.

Also see government press release on programme below


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Comments (51)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I can't even afford a mortgage to buy my own home… I wonder if they would give me a similar loan to cover my rental payments?!  Strikes me that despite hard times, the lucky/fortunate ones get more than those who really need it.  Utter foolishness dis.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Alot of Caymanians are struggling, but alot of us hang our hats too high, and try to keep up with the Jones. Salarys are so out of scale. I recently say a Caymanian woman shopping and someone was saying 'you see that gal she is the second highest paid womwn in this Country $225000 per annum. Now how the hell can her staff have a car like her, dress like her, nor own a house like her. Yet they try and then they get into trouble. Competition seems to be the problem here.However there are some who are hanging their hats where they should be able to reach them but they just cant. These are the people that my heart goes out to, and they should be given some assistance. This Committee should be headed up by good  and fair people who knows the Community, and know those who have a need and not greed.

    • Anonymous says:

      03:07 ~ not everybody tries to live like the Jones  ~ most Caymanians are very responsible and prudent and take their time to build up material things. In any society you will   find some people who live above their means, but it doesnt apply to everyone.

      So lets not paint evrybody with the same brush. Bad boy ! Tisk, tisk!

  3. Anonymous says:

    nice interest free for 50 years thats less than  $35.00 bucks a month sweet !



    • Anonymous says:

      Eat them out,
      Drink them out
      Suck Dart money out of him

      COME 2013!

  4. Anonymous says:

    more wonderland stuff…. welcome to cayman….. the land where nothing makes sense….

  5. Anonymous says:

    Complete and absolute silliness.

    $2.5M – max $20,000 per applicant = minimum 125 applicants. Look at the records / ask the banks how many Caymanian homes they have foreclosed on in each of the last five years where the owner was able to provide the information required by the Committee and which showed they could at least cover interest from their own resources. The answer is going to be very few (even if the banks were inclined to do so the Judge would throw the case out if the Bank's position was not deteriorating).

    So we are going to see a year down the line littl eif any of the money doled out according to thee rules and then pressure will come to spend some of it so  it will go to eople who can make their payments but have missed a few in the past to 'clear their record'. All that will do is incentivise the lazy. "things are a bit tight this month so I will miss a payment. as long as I keep others up to date after that I can apply later for the Government to pay that one for me".

    Also there is no place on this Committee for anyone from the debt recovery department of a major bank. Absolute conflict of interest. If that bank has issued a foreclosure notice they must believe theire is no hope left. Then the same person votes to say that the Governemnt spending $20,000 is not throwing good after bad. One of those calls has to be wrong. And the beneficiary – the Banks!

    • Anonymous says:

      There is always hope – hope is eternal and the banks never give up on the individual even as they move to litigation.

      Would find it hard to beleive that someone as professional as this particular individual would not state their interest and leave the decison making to the other commitee members about a application related to their bank.

      Someone of this expertise and caliber is an invaluable assest to the committee as they have a very good understnding of the workings of delinquency and the many stages of litigation.

      Am sure everyone on the committee is aware of the  FOI and everything will be transparent and we will find that they did what had to be done, such as not participating in discussions that are considered conflicts.

      That is what happens on many boards when there are conflicts of interest and there is sure to be no matter what board or committee a person might find themself on. They just have to do what is expected of them, and that is to refrain from having anything to do with the matter.

      Stating your interest and Leaving the room is they way they deal with it on the immigration boards and am sure they do the same on many others. In fact I beleive that  this debt recovery lady is already on one of the boards and will surely know how to handle any conflict  situation that is sure to pop up.



      • Anonymous says:

        Not to mention she has 20 years of lending experience between commercial lending and personal lending @ RBC. Plus her experience in debt recovery and dealing with delinquency will go a long way in helping the committee understand applications, after all this is about defaulting and lending.  Both of which she has experience in.

        20yrs lending + honorable, fair, trustworthy, good character, integrity, = Cora Grant-James.  No problem, she can operate my business anyday! 

        Need a change of job Ms. Grant? Call me.

    • Anonymous says:

      And can someone tell us what will happens after the 20,000 is put towards their mortgage?  Does this help them pay their mortgage in the future.  The inevitable is going to eventually happen, they will lose their house then owe not only to the bank but to government

  6. Anonymous says:

    What about assistance to help those who dont have the 10 or 20% deposit to obtain a mortgage but would qualify for make the mortgage payment based on thier debt service ratio. There are many young caymanians who are struggling to save up the down payment just so they can have the chance at owning a home instead of paying rent, cant some of these funds be directed towards helping those who would otherwise qualify for a mortgage but dont because they dont have the deposit this might also help people to acheive the dream of home ownership. And the terms of repayment for the deposit could remain the same. Just a suggesstion.

    • Anonymous says:

      Check out my post below about the National Housing Development Trust's government guaranteed mortgage scheme! If the applicant and the property meet the criteria this is exactly what that programme does.

    • Anonymous says:

      16:28.  Check the Government Guarantee Mortgage Scheme, that will guarantee 35% of the purchase price of any property. That way the bank will lend you 100% of the cost of the property.  Call the National Housing Trust for assistance. You're welcome.

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is a classic example of a well-intentioned but fruitless exercise (almost as ill advised as the proposal to increase mutual fund fees to subsidise electricity bills). Either it will just not work as the delinquent borrowers will struggle with the confusing eligibility tests. Or, even if they get over those hurdles, it will be a short term fix and for the wrong people too. In many, if not most, cases the real beneficiaries will be the banks who will receive a nice gift of "free" dollars, that in reality should belong to the Islands taxpayers as a whole. And worse, the day of reckoning for many borrowers will only be postponed for a few months.

    The experience elsewhere is that numerous borrowers will simply default again. And the banks will be forced to foreclose (again). Further, and depending on the exact circumstances of each case, the bank will have priority with respect to the sales proceeds and the Government will get little or nothing back. So back to Square One, with the taxpayers being out US$2.5 million for starters and counting.

    It is always emotionally hard when people lose their homes. But cold economic  history (look at the USA) tells us that interfering with the housing market (and thus artificially propping up prices) is the best way to postpone its long term recovery. Far better that people who unfortunately lose their homes pick up some of the huge oversupply of rental property currently available in Cayman, until they get back on their feet. And that their foreclosed homes are bought at realistic prices by people who might not otherwise to afford a home. Along the way, the banks and their shareholders will have to take some pain too. Thus, harsh as it is, the market is ultimately self correcting.

    So the good feeling that the news of the "save the mortgage" programme may first engender is likely to be rapidly dissipated.  I wish that history were otherwise, but sadly it is not.

    Tim Ridley



    • B.B.L. Brown says:

      Tim, I read your comment two times and I can only come to one conclusion….. you are right!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Just reading the news and thought what is the relation between the west bay by pass where I read that some organizers are campaiging against the erection of new road.

    And then I saw this news about cash paid out to delinquent owners under the DART SWAP.

    Is DART buying out the caymainans so they can build the road. Coincident that these two article was posted today.



  9. Anonymous says:

    Just another way for the UDP to hang onto their support.

    And guess what, after they get the money they will go straight back into arrears.

    Cheques from Government never, never in the long run help anyone, it just increases the             AMBITIOUS PEOPLE     debt!! 

    And      MOST     of those being helped just carry on there lives as usual, doing verry little to help themselves or to lift those around them.


  10. Anonymous says:

    Welfare has come to the Cayman Islands

    • Anonymous says:

      next you will have those who receive free breakfast and lunch, free air conditioning, free mortgage, free cell phone service, health care….and drive a Mercedes or Jaguar.

      Help them find work! Give them technical training. Do everything you can instead of making it a welfare island. Attach $$ to job training…anything but give them $$.

    • Anonymous says:

      Had a lady tell me the other day how grateful she is for the program. She was horified by the fact that she could lose her home and looked forward to getting the assistance as her bank had indicated that they would work further with her as a result of the grant.

      While I am not in that position personally, I  am happy to hear that the program is making a big difference in the lives of others already. This is a good thing.

      Just  be thankful that not everybody will need it. That means that not everybod is facing hard times, and that is a good thing.

  11. common sense says:

    Wow!!!! So as me and my wife kill ourselves working 16-19 hour days after losing very good jobs due to cutbacks over 6 months ago but manage to keep our bills up to date the people who have done nothing and did fall three months behind get bailed out. Another way government is helping people stay lazy!!!!  Our houshold income has went from 190k / year to less than 40k and we have managed by cutting back and prioritizing. This money could be used better. Its just like the govt programme to help caymanians buy houses that CANT AFFORD THEM!!!! Use this money to help younger caymanians pay for school or for technical training.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don't disagree with your post and sentiments, and I admire your perseverence in tough times and hope things get better for you. However, I do want to make one side note about what you refer to as "the govt programme to help caymanians buy houses that CANT AFFORD THEM!!!!" because I think a lot of people are somewhat misinformed about at least some of the work of the NHDT.


      I was actually a beneficiary of the NHDT Government Guaranteed Mortgage programme and am now a believer, though obviously everything has the potential for abuse or misuse and I'm clearly biased. Years back I had a good job and chose to rent an affordable apartment instead of living with my parents like most of my peers. (Nothing wrong with living with your parents, but as a side note, I think the "Caymanian dream" where people think they HAVE to own their own land and home from a very young age and never rent because it's "throwing away money" is overplayed and ridiculous. But that's another rant.) I rented for a few years and it was very hard to save a substantial amount of money while still living a lifestyle that I wanted (i.e. traveling every once and a while, going out to eat, having a blackberry later on, etc). And I'm a very frugal person in many respects. Yes, I could have saved more if I scripmed and saved, but I made the conscious decision to live that lifestyle and rent until I was in a position to comfortably and securely buy property, which I estimated would take about 5-7 years.


      Then I heard about the GGM, which is perfect for younger Caymanians who simply haven't yet built up the savings for the hefty upfront fees required by the banks but who are perfectly capable of "affording" a home after the fact. I chose a property and easily qualified through my bank. To complete the process I paid NHDT CI$950 and went through some extra bureacracy. I ended up putting down about $3,000 by choice (instead of closer to $30,000) and currently own my own home, which I would not have been able to do at this time without the NHDT GGM programme. Cost to NHDT? Administration related to my application, mainly the man hours for the staff to process my application and for the board to approve it and whatever percentage of overhead you'd like to assign to my one case.


      Since closing, I've never missed a mortgage payment (or any other bill payment for that matter) and have not succumbed to offers of mortgage holidays when my bank would like to get some more interest out of me (can't fault them, low interest rates are great for debtors like me but killing the banks right now). I've also managed to put an extra few thousand toward my mortgage principal each year. And I suspect there are many other beneficiaries of NDHT programmes in similar situations, not just of the GGM but also those who bought affordable homes through NHDT or built on their own land with help from NHDT and are financially sound and keeping up with their commitments now that they have been given the opportunity to make that commitment on achievable terms.


      Yes, the NHDT costs more to run than the money they directly receive from clients through fees so these programmes cost Government money. Also, the newly released figures about very large stipends paid to board members, the arrest of one member on corruption charges and the manner in which recent contractors were selected (i.e. without tendering because they were broken into multiple small contracts that did not meet the threshold required to tender) are disturbing, and inefficienciesand abuse are surely present in the whole system. However, the real questions when it comes to the NHDT are not why are they are carrying out risky business in helping Caymanians buy houses that they can't afford and why are we furthering a welfare mentality, but rather (1) whether the Government policy and its objectives with the NHDT are clear and clearly stated, (2) whether appropriate checks and balances are in place, (3) where can efficiencies be improved or money saved, and (4) whether the outcomes are worth the cost.


      I personally think that less than a million dollars a year to empower people through home ownership (whether by guaranteeing mortgages, assisting with construction loans or constructing affordable houses), to allow people to live within their means or get out of debt by securing affordable rentals, and to set people on a path to financial independence and stability might just be worth it. With the GGM in particular there will also be more knock-on effects; people like me will be investing more money in the local economy, and though property investors will likely lose out on rental income, there will be more buyers for people looking to sell their property and the real estate market and banks will get a bit of a boost. But then again, I'm saving thousands of dollars in the long run because, through NHDT, I was able to buy my home earlier than I would have otherwise been able for the small fee of $950, so maybe I'm just biased…

    • Theo says:

      I feel your pain bro , but give thanks and dont run others down.  your day will comeonce you continue doing what ur doing in faith.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Mr. Dart, 

                                   I know you don't have to do it. This wonderful help in this depression. I also know that there are many people that would be apreciative of the help. There are people on this island who just want to find fault no matter what you do. Jealousy and envy are destroying the world today and thank god there are still people like you that will help.

    I for one work in the tourist industry and without a cruise ship pier have lost business in the season and this summer  also in the off season. I feel one of the major reasons that people are having this problem is the banks. Their interest rates of 3-5% higher then what the states is killing this country's middle class. We need competition in banking and insurance. Plus we need less fees from Gov't at this time. 

    This could be a wonderful opportunity in business for you and a win-win situation in public relations on the island. Open or buy the major shares of a bank. 

                                              thank you 

                                                  the bus driver

    • Anonymous says:

      …'cos we all know that uncle Dart is a philanthropist and is doing all of this out of the goodness of his heart and love for Caymanians. 

      Do you still believe in Santa Claus as well? Do you really think that Dart would need the business advice of a bus driver?

      It is hard to believe that there are people on this Island who are really that stupid. But wait….you probably also vote for Mckeeva.   

  13. I Got This says:

    Three months worth of mortgage payments are going to look pretty sweet sitting in my offshore account. Then I'll be eligible, Ka Ching!

    • Anonymous says:

      Don't count on it bro – $2.5US won't go that far. and while you sit and watch those three hidden mortgage payments nest in your offshore bank, your credit history is shot to hell onshore and you still won't get any help from the program cause the funds will only last about a month tops.

  14. Anonymous says:

    What a stupid, stupid, stupid idea!

    As usually nothing is done properly in Cayman, this will mean that someone who is driving a brand new SUV and has a big car loan as well as a loan for their Christmas shopping spree in Miami along with that new big flat screen TV is getting financial assistance and laughing all the way.

    The once who are truly struggling but trying their hardest or the once that really came across some misfortune (like high medical bills etc) are once again going to be the ones left behind!

    • Theo says:

      youre a nuisance the funds are for arrears on Home Morgages.  Keep out a people kitchen ya know noting bout noting

  15. Tiny Briefs says:

    PR holders needing assistance should apply and once refused on the basis of national origin apply to the UK for damages for discrimination.

  16. Wiggy says:

    Thank goodness! Oh my word.

    I will have to look into this as I am struglling to pay my mortgage and all of my bills.

    Another great program from Mr. Bush who is a great leader for Cayman despite all of the rubbish talkers.

  17. Anonymous says:

    What about those who are not three months in arrear but struggle to pay their morgage? Again this is encouraging people to be lazy while others work so hard to keep up with their payments. I personally feel that those that are making late payments but at least trying to do their best should be given some assistance too.

    • Anonymous says:

      I beleive that it's more than simply struggling to pay your mortgage that qualifies you for the grant, but more for those unfortunate people who are on the verge of losing their homes through foreclsoure,

      Obviously there must be some criteria set out in order for the committee to decide who gets first preference. Ater all, a couple of million wont go very far and not everybody will receive assistance.

      In principle, the intent of this program is good.  Hope the lucky few who receive this assistance do the right thing and pay back the money.


      • Bling man says:

        I don't know what  the "intent of this program" is, but it will enrich the banks and influence more voters in the next election!

        • Anonymous says:

          The only intent is to save homes from forclosure no matter the political persuasion of the person. The End.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Very good if handled by the right people. Hope its not like the Paloma assistance.

    • Anonymous says:

      The committee is made up of the BEST people to handle this matter. Let's just give them a chance to do their jobs which in itself must be difficult to do, plus knowing that anything they do will be criticized. 

      After all they have the persons ability to lose or save their homes in their hands.  Must be quite stressful, I for one,  would not want that responsibility.


    • Anonymous says:

      Yep, my first thoughts: Paloma.  I hope the loans get paid back better than the Paloma ones too.

  19. Trolley Dolly says:

    More discrimination.

    • Anonymous says:

      I understand that preference will be first given to those who actually have foreclosure judgment against them. If that is the case then that is the first good step.

      Once judgement has been rendered its only a matter of time until a buyer is found and the home is sold.

      The next priority are those who have received a Letter of Demand; that is an excellent second priority.  Two for two; not bad.

      They seem to be right on track. Which means not every tom dick and harry will be getting  their mortgages paid out.  Good work guys!!



      • Judge Dredd says:

        Surely with a judgment against them the better course for the bank is to take possession and sell and a few months payments should not make any difference to that right since the whole mortgage will have fallen due and payable.  If my bank was any softer on defaulters than this I would be annoyed that my mortgage is expensive becuase of those who can't pay what they promised.

        • Anonymous says:

          The last thing the bank wants is to sell a persons house; therefore, despite Judgement, if an individual is able to get sufficient funds from the grant to udpate their arrears, the bank will continue to work with them. 

          Now, if they default again  litigation will resume.

          We seem to want to criticize the banks for working with people who are experiencing problems with making their payments; however,    it would be a greater public outcry if they were not!

          • Mortgage Payor says:

            There would be no outcry from me!  The banks are too soft on the delinquents.  Foreclosing is no worse than a landlord terminating a lease so why should honest bill payers like me have to pay higher interest rates to subsidise the idle and the greedy?

            • Anonymous says:

              Only he who feels it knows it BoBo; obviously you are not having any problems with your mortgage.  So just step aside so those who need assistance can receive it. Stop finding a problem for every solution.

  20. Anonymous says:

    This is a slippery slope to dependence and a welfare state.


    Teach them how to fish instead of just giving them fish.

    • Crayon Break says:

      What lesson do you imagine the qualified really needs to learn? The economy is in bad shape and our govt is offering a solution;perhaps it might be better to do nothing as people loose everything!

      Lets not forget the govt and private sector are both in bad shape.

      Unemployment rate is at 3.somebody % not to mentoin the many who recieved pay cuts in order to remain employed.

      There is a fair share of persons that will be helped by this program who have kids(you know the lil midgets who look like us, believe or not they too need a home to live and grow in)

      The private sector is currently employing more and more cheap labour from India, Phillipines, South Africa etc…….(This particular fact was not mentoined to cause a social division,but to highlight that even entry level jobs are becoming harder to secure)

      Ofcourse an abuser or two may receieve the benefits of this programnee,one might even conclude that the Govt could  be buying votes.These however are weak excuses not to provide this programme, proper screening and a "no conflict of interest attitiude" will assist its success.

  21. Anonymous says:

    The application looks as if it is similar to one that a borrower would have to complete if they applied to a commercial bank for a loan.

    Looks as if a lot of thought and detail went into its preparation.

    Now its up to the borrower to repay the debt. As with any loan, there will always be the risk of not having the funds repaid. 

    A second charge helps to mitigate that aspect of the risk and that is what Gov intends to do. 

    Looks good so far is my opinion.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yup! Saw the application form. Some document. Obviously the experience of the banker was influential in creating it and I thought you said she had no  banking/lending experience.  Shame on you!

      If the transaction goes south it won't be for the lack of obtaining personal information from the borrower.  The AG should be happy.