Commercial banks using Building Expo to promote competitive interest rates

Scotia Bank is to use this month’s Building Expo 2011 to promote the bank’s lower mortgage rates in support of the country’s accelerated housing drive.

Scotia’s Marketing Manager Jennifer Cipriani told Stabroek Business earlier this week that during the course of the three-day Building Expo which opens at the National Stadium, Providence on July 29 Scotia will be marketing its reduced mortgage rates for loans under $10million and $12 million, respectively.

Scotia Bank Carmichael Street location

Stabroek Business understands that the bank’s mortgage rates were reduced at the end of June and that the reduced rates will be available until December 14, in the first instance. Cipriani said that the response from the market will determine whether the new interest rates will remain in place beyond that date.

“This decision has been in the making for several months now. It is something that we have been planning and it just so happens to coincide with Building Expo. We will be using this even to promote our mortgage rates,” Cipriani said.

Cipriani told Stabroek Business that Scotia has been working to respond to the boom in the country’s housing sector and that the lowering of mortgage rates was in keeping with the bank’s thrust to help more Guyanese realise the dream of owning their own homes.

Under the government mortgage programme the Scotia Bank mortgage rates are 4.75% for loans up to $3m and 6.75% for loans up to $8m. Mortgage rates for loans outside the government’s housing programme are 9.25% for loans between $19m and $12m and 11% for loans upwards of $12m. The under $10M and under $12M loan categories were created by the bank in order to facilitate the lowering of the rates and saw a 1.5% and 0.75% lowering of the interest rate in the two loan categories, respectively.

Scotia Bank is among several local companies providing corporate sponsorship for this year’s Building Expo. According to Cipriani Scotia is investing more than $3m in the event.

Republic Bank Robb and Camp Streets location

Building Expo was held for the first time in August 2010 and Cipriani said that on that occasion the bank was able to reach hundreds of potential clients who visited their booth though much of it was slow to convert into actual business. One factor that might have impacted on the conversion of visitor interest in actual business are the requirements which potential borrowers must meet before loans are approved. Cipriani explained that some persons who are benefitting from the government’s housing programme must first acquire transports which instruments are used as collateral in the lending process. While some persons are already in receipt of release letters many are yet to receive their transports and therefore cannot do business with the bank. Cipriani said that the bank was doing its best to work with what it had and was taking the view that the benefits accruing from the Building Expo were likely to be long-term.

Other local commercial banks including Republic Bank Guyana Limited and the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) will also be participating in this year’s Building Expo. Republic Bank Marketing Assistant Jaclyn Telles told Stabroek Business that Republic was one of the first entities to respond to the invitation from the Ministry of Housing to participate in Building the event. According to Telles, Republic Bank continues to support the national  home ownership thrust since it provides an opportunity to reach out to everyone interested in homeownership whether it be high end or low cost housing. Telles said that the expo also provided the bank with the opportunity to educate the market about mortgage financing and to provide them with critical information that allowed   for more informed decision making.

According to Telles, Republic Bank will be spending several million dollars on sponsorship and on the setting up of its booth for the Housing Expo. “The response we received was very encouraging, and most pleasing is the fact that Republic Bank residential mortgages continue to be in high demand,” Telles told Stabroek Business.

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