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Lenders ‘should rule out age’

rhondathompson, [email protected]

Lenders ‘should rule out age’

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A CREDIT UNION OFFICIAL says age should not be the critical factor in the decisions of lending agencies such as banks and credit unions concerning whether to offer long-term mortgages to people over 60.
Members relations executive of City of Bridgetown (COB) Credit Union, Winston Alleyne, said banks and credit unions should weigh each case on its own merit and not veto a customer merely because he or she is elderly.
“It has its pros and cons . . . . You can’t lend any and everyone because there is a greater risk at that age with people having diminished earnings, but when you have a customer who has collateral to back them up, they are a safe bet.
“It can’t be a blanket thing on declining a person a long-term mortgage. I am sure that if Sir Charles Williams, who is over 70, wanted money today they are not going to refuse him, because he has collateral. If the person is collaterally sound, the risk is minimized,”?Alleyne said.
Alleyne was responding to yesterday’s Front Page lead story in the DAILY NATION, in which Barbados’ Ambassador in Washington, John Beale, a former top banker, accused commercial banks of blatant age discrimination in declining to give long-term mortgages to people over 60.
Alleyne said the banks and credit unions had different perspectives.
“The banks are profit-driven; credit unions are not, so that is where the difference comes. Everything is their bottom line. We seek to improve the quality of life of our members, however old they are.
“I am a founding member of COB, and I got involved when I was about 25. So therefore, when I get to a certain age and I need some assistance, they should ignore me although I may have some worth? They shouldn’t discriminate like that; you should do each case on merit.”
Alleyne acknowledged that he did to some extent understand the banks’ fears.