Housing agency grants P18B in guarantee lines

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State-run housing agency Home Guaranty Corp. granted P18 billion worth of guarantee lines to 18 conduit lenders in the first semester of the year.

The approved lines will guarantee new housing loans for the purchase or construction of about 10,900 housing units, HGC said in a statement.

In the same period in 2012, HGC approved P21.8 billion in guarantee lines. Banks usually use up the guarantee lines within three years and last year, the approved lines were not fully used up, which resulted in the lower level for the first semester of this year.

A key shelter agency under the supervision of Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) under Vice President Jejomar Binay, HGC mobilizes private funds for public housing. Housing loans enrolled against HGC-approved guarantee lines are insured against credit default risk.

In 2012, HGC launched its “Guaranty Program for Rural Banks” to boost housing finance and homeownership in the countryside. Among the institutions that were granted guarantee lines in 2013 were three rural banks.

So far, HGC has granted guarantee lines to 18 rural banks nationwide. “HGC is expecting more guarantee line applications from rural banks this year. This is part of our strategy to expand our business geographically and to include other sectors in housing finance,” HGC president Manuel Sanchez said.

HGC also launched last year a guarantee program for small loans that aims to improve the access of low-income sectors, especially those in the countryside, to housing finance through microfinance institutions (MFIs), cooperatives and other financial institutions. These loans target low-income and underprivileged sectors, including tricycle drivers, street vendors, small entrepreneurs, farmers and fisher folks. Traditionally, these sectors are left out by the banking system and do not have access to formal lending because they do not have the collateral to offer and documentary proof of income to establish their paying capacity.

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