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NHA to provide housing loan amnesty

Vol. XXII, No. 191 [ BusinessWorld Online ]

Friday, May 1, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES


LOW-COST housing beneficiaries with outstanding accounts can start applying for loan restructuring, and penalty condonation starting May 4 in line with a law that seeks to help homebuyers threatened with foreclosure to keep their homes, the National Housing Authority (NHA) yesterday said.

In a press conference, NHA General Manager Federico A. Laxa said the implementation of Republic Act (RA) 9507, or the Socialized and Low-Cost Housing Loan Restructuring Program of 2008 would provide relief to poor households whose penalties had accumulated due to their financial problems.

"The passage of RA 9507 is an avenue that would free our beneficiaries from their financial quagmire and for them to be able to settle their obligations and save their homes," he said.

Jo Hottle, NHA director for corporate planning, said around 100,000 accounts are eligible to avail of the program, which provides discounts on housing arrears and incentives for updated accounts.

The law, signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last October, would extend the payment period of housing loans contracted from government financial institutions and housing agencies, and in effect lower borrowers’ monthly amortizations.

It covers socialized and low-cost housing loan accounts not exceeding P2.5 million with any of the government financing institutions and agencies that have at least three months of unpaid monthly amortizations arrears as of March 31.

The program, however, cannot be availed of by beneficiaries without a single payment since the sale of their units, those who have abandoned their units for more than a year from delinquency date, those whose housing units are occupied by a third party, and those whose accounts have been foreclosed and the redemption period has lapsed.

Qualified beneficiaries can avail of the program until September 2010.

Ms. Hottle said under the implementing rules of the law, NHA will condone all penalty and delinquency charges as well as half of accrued and unpaid interest of eligible homeowners.

Restructured accounts will consist of an interest bearing portion which is the total outstanding principal balance and a non-interest bearing portion which will be the uncondoned portion of accrued interest to be repaid in equal monthly amortizations during the term of the loan. The maximum repayment period of the structured loan is 30 years for individual and community association accounts.

Ms. Hottle said the program would mean around P1.4 billion in foregone revenues for NHA. — Alexis Douglas B. Romero

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