Oriental Mortgage goes after 1st-time homebuyers

Written by  //  September 17, 2013  //  Banking, Financial District  //  No comments

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Average mortgage rates are hovering at 4.75%, making it an ideal time to buy a property, Ada García-Castelló, senior vice president and director at Oriental Mortgage, said.

Average mortgage rates are hovering at 4.75%, making it an ideal time to buy a property, Ada García-Castelló, senior vice president and director at Oriental Mortgage, said. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual)

Aware that buying a home can be daunting, Oriental Mortgage is launching a campaign to help first-time buyers ward off “Adquidofobia,” or buyer’s phobia of signing on the dotted line. Through the effort, Oriental seeks to maintain the 5 percent growth rate in loan originations it experienced last year, company officials said Monday.

“At Oriental Mortgage we have a team of experts with vast experience in the mortgage industry who listen to their clients and are committed to offer the best financing and stand by them throughout the process involved in buying a property,” said Ada García-Castelló, senior vice president and director at Oriental Mortgage.

The bank, which this year closed on its acquisition of BBVA’s former Puerto Rico operation, has a $1.5 billion loan portfolio, of which about $55.7 million is non-performing.

“Our portfolio is sound and well accepted at the moment,” she said. “The truth is that the campaign’s goal is not to generate an incredible increase in the number of loans that we originate, but rather attract clients who don’t own a home or are looking to buy a better property than the one they currently own.”

By holding their hand through the process, and educating customers on the requirements tied to a mortgage loan, Oriental is looking to eliminate the fear associated with home buying, she said.

Some of the issues that most concern potential buyers are the value of the chosen investment property, acquiring at the right time, keeping mortgage payments close to what they pay for rentals, and the possibility that the bank in charge of the mortgage transaction will change its offer when it comes time to close the deal. On this last point, García-Castelló said Oriental Mortgage is guaranteeing a 30-day closing to be able to keep the terms and numbers the same as they were when the transaction began.

With its acquisition of BBVA, Oriental inherited a network of branches islandwide, which it is looking to turn into full-service destinations where customers can go to inquire about a range of services, she said.

“Both branches had mortgage divisions, but we were lacking a presence at the branches to be able to be closer to our customers,” she said. “The team and equipment is there, we’re just adding a campaign through which we’re telling customers that there is nothing to fear.”

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