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Our View: Foreclosures issue descends into absurdity

AFTER a brief lull, the parties have resumed their campaign against foreclosures. The spark for renewing the campaign was provided by news that the submission of applications to the Estia scheme, which will provide state assistance in the repayment of housing loans, will commence in September. On Thursday, Edek announced that it would submit a bill for the suspension of all foreclosures.

This, despite the fact that finance minister Harris Georgiades assured the House finance committee, there would be no foreclosure procedures in the period leading up to the introduction of the scheme in the case of householders that were planning on applying. He also said that for vulnerable borrowers that are deemed ineligible for Estia, because of the inability to repay their loans, there was an intention by the government to do something else, but he did not specify.

Even the government was playing the populist game. It would support, although it did not say how, people who could not repay a loan, even when it was with a big discount and government assistance. So, the taxpayer would pick up the bill for people that should never have taken out a housing loan, because foreclosures are not permitted. Meanwhile, thanks to Estia, the taxpayer will also subsidise strategic defaulters, with assets and good salaries, because foreclosure of the primary residence has been ruled out by the parties.

Meanwhile, Akel criticised the government because it had not prepared a bill to cover those that could not benefit from Estia, nor one for reliable borrowers. The latter idea, first brought up by Diko, is indicative of the general absurdity. The parties want a scheme for rewarding people that have been consistently meeting their loan repayments. Would the scheme give a €5,000 bonus to everyone that has been repaying his or her loan? Then again, in a society that protects and rewards people that do not repay their housing loans, it would be gross injustice not to do something for the idiots that actually repay their loans.

For the parties, the lender that wants to collect what he is owed is the bad guy. While the banks are guilty of arrogant behaviour in many cases, they are acting within the law, even though the opposite impression is given by the parties. Edek said its proposed bill would stop the ‘raid’ of the banks on properties, at the expense of citizens. People who refuse to repay their loans are the victims, according to Edek which wanted to “to close the window exploited by the banks”. The law is a window exploited by the banks which is why Edek wants to suspend it.

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