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Ezine Business 2004

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The Barbados Advocate
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- Monday 23, August-2004 by Geralyn Edward

The mortgage market has become so competitive that it is now generating a spin-off business for at least one financial services company.

Signia Financial Group Inc., owned by Grace, Kennedy & Company, Cave Shepherd and United Insurance Company, has introduced a free mortgage brokerage service that not only simplifies the process of searching for a home loan but introduces new clients to financial institutions offering such products.

Nicole Greenidge, a mortgage broker with Signia explained that the local mortgage environment is presently characterised by offers and counter offers, variable rates and fixed rates, and so Barbadians need a professional service provider who would wade through offers and assess their suitability.

“The banks are coming out with these offers that are attractive. They are dropping rates and reducing fees and people can get confused,” she said.

Greenidge explained that some clients may have particular “situations that might not fall within the parameters of the mortgage”. In such situations, she said Signia can seek to negotiate a mortgage that suits the particular circumstances of the clients.

In addition, she emphasised that seeking a mortgage should involve shopping around. “You should never just pick one as though it were an item on the supermarket shelf.”

According to her: “You may have picked one bank and gone with them but another bank that had a better offer might not have seen your application so we are giving everyone a chance to see your application. As a result you are getting your application spread because you are not going to go through this process yourself with every single bank.”

With the new service, Greenidge said the responses of the commercial banks are assessed by her company. “We put them in a format to make it easy to compare the offers . . . . There may be a bank that offers a rate that you like, but there is something about the offer that the client may not approve of. In that case we can approach the bank and seek to renegotiate a particular fee,” she added.

Aware that the concept of a mortgage broker was new to Barbadians, she believes that utilising the service of a mortgage broker will become as common as seeking an insurance broker to get the best rates on your car insurance.

Signia, a full service financial institution offers loans, leasing services, investment services, bill payment services, stock brokerage, mutual funds, mortgage services and financial consulting.

Compliments of the Nation News


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