On Tuesday, August 3, the Cyprus Banks Borrowers Protection Association (SYPRODAT) accused the Cypriot government of bureaucracy, which puts most lenders at risk of losing their properties by failing to take advantage of the Estia program.
SYPRODAT stated that "the failure of the Estia scheme is primarily due to the negligence and indifference on the part of the Ministry of Finance, as well as the limitations of those involved in this issue."
The association added that the main problem with the scheme's poor performance is that the government has not heeded calls for simplified application processes or the necessary supporting documentation.
SYPRODAT stressed that now the government's attention should be directed to the successful implementation of a new plan to support those who have been denied participation in the Estia program. The main task is to attract as many borrowers as possible to the asset management company or Bad Bank.
SYPRODAT also urged all stranded debtors to apply to participate in Estia in any event, even if they are non-viable borrowers, so that at least the Ministry of Finance is aware of them and can take steps to protect their primary residence.
As you may know, the Cyprus Ministry of Finance published on Friday, July 30 the preliminary results of the Estia mortgage subsidy program.
Of thousands of applications submitted, only 802 were approved. 62% completed applications were rejected, and 17% were deemed unviable. A total of 6,393 applications were submitted for the Estia program, of which 4,374 were completed in full.
The opposition party AKEL said that the Estia scheme had collapsed due to the government's failure to protect major residential buildings from foreclosure threats.
The party noted that "the highly publicized scheme, which gave hope to thousands of borrowers, ultimately confirmed the main flaws and gaps in its original structure." Thousands of low-income borrowers have not received approval.
Many did not fill out applications due to the rise in prices, while most of the borrowers did not apply at all. Only the government bears responsibility for this state of affairs, - stressed AKEL.
By the way, citizens whose loans were declared non-performing as of September 30, 2017 had the right to apply for participation in the state Estia program.
Loans were to be issued for the only real estate, the value of which did not exceed 350 thousand euros. Applicants had to meet a number of criteria in terms of income and other aspects. They were also required to agree with the bank on the restructuring of their problem loans. After writing off the loan from the bank's balance sheet, the government pledged to subsidize 33% of monthly installments.
Meanwhile, a bill that would extend the moratorium on foreclosures by another three months until the end of October is now pending in the Supreme Court after the president refused to sign it.
The previous moratorium on the sale of mortgaged real estate expired on July 31.
By the way, the suspension of foreclosures was conceived as a measure to help borrowers in the framework of the special circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
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