Union wants cheap mortgages from local pension fund APS

POSTED: 10/16/13 12:58 PM

St. Maarten – The general pension fund APS should make mortgages available at reduced interest rates to teachers and civil servants, said Claire Elshot, Vice President of the Windward Islands Chamber of Labor Unions at the union’s weekly press briefing on Tuesday. Elshot said that she has a list of twenty names ready of people “who are in dire need of a mortgage for their home.”

Elshot recalled that the pension fund of the Netherlands Antilles, Apna, in the past issued mortgages through the Central Mortgage Bank at interest rates below those of commercial banks. The union considers these mortgages local investments.

Elshot said that the Memorandum of Understanding the government signed with APS for the completion of the new government administration building triggered the idea to call for mortgage-based investments.

She said that teachers have to make sure they are properly registered with APS, because preferential mortgages would only be available for APS-members.

“A pension fund needs to do investments – abroad and at home. In the time of Apna local re-investments of premiums were done through the Central Mortgage Bank. Young people would be able to get a mortgage to acquire a house against a lower interest rate.”

Elshot acknowledged that there is no bank attached yet to the pension fund, but that this could be worked out through another Memorandum of Understanding. Asked about the risk of undue pressure on the return on investment from such local mortgages, Elshot repeated that this was done under Apna too. “It is mandated by law that investments are made at home and abroad. In the past the interest rates were lower than those of the commercial banks. I do not feel that this would create a big problem, even though APS is smaller than Apna.”


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