Turnquest: BMC more than $395 million in debt

Deputy Prime Minister, Peter Turnquest.

Ferreira: BMC to reduce bad loans on its books

Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest revealed in Parliament Wednesday that the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation (BMC) is more than $395 million in debt.

The staggering figure was announced as members debated a resolution for the BMC to acquire the old Foreign Affairs building on East Hill Street for a new office space.

Last week several homeowners had the locks changed on their homes for failing to make their mortgage payments. Since then, there has been much public discussion on the issue.

Turnquest detailed that the outstanding bonds for BMC are estimated at $62 million and more than $323 million in interest totalling more than $395 million.

Housing and Environment Minister Ramould Ferreira said the BMC aims to reduce the bad loans on its books.

“When a borrower becomes delinquent it first sends a demand letter requesting payment in 30 days to invite the individual to come and speak with them,” Ferreira explained.

“If there is no response in six months a writ is served.”

He denied assertions that government was simply “throwing people on the street,” without making any attempt for them to pay.

Former BMC Chairman Alex Storr who appeared on Beyond the Headlines with Clint Watson earlier this week also weighed in on the matter. He noted that under the former administration they were challenged with applications for loans from Bahamians who are heavily debt-burdened or require a co-applicant to join in the application to assist in qualifying for the loan.

He said while every effort was made to ascertain the true financial obligations of loan applicants it was difficult given the absence of a formal credit reporting agency.