Pag-IBIG tightens screening of loans

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TO prevent another housing scam similar to that allegedly carried out by Delfin Lee’s Globe Asiatique, the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF or Pag-IBIG Fund) has tightened the screening of loan applications and taken additional steps to prevent fraud.

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Besides abolishing the special lane granted to real estate developers, the agency will appoint an internal ombudsman and an internal control audit team that will scrutinize applications and transactions.

Vice President Jejomar Binay said these safeguards were put in place to prevent the use of ghost borrowers and the double selling of housing units.

Binay ordered the filing of syndicated estafa charges against Lee and several others for allegedly defrauding the housing agency of more than P6 billion. Lee made it appear that there were loan applicants for his Xevera housing project in Mabalacat, Pampanga.

Binay chairs the Pag-IBIG Fund board in his capacity as chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.

Pag-IBIG Fund chief executive officer Darlene Marie Berberabe said that the agency’s internal control audit will regularly check all of the Fund’s transactions to detect and prevent fraud.

She said Binay ordered the scrapping of the Window 1 scheme, which was allegedly used by Lee to siphon off P6.6 billion in loans from the agency using ghost borrowers.

Window 1 was the express lane for real estate developers with good track record. Under the scheme, developers were deputized by Pag-IBIG Fund to evaluate the financial capability of potential borrowers and submit applications on their behalf.

To replace the scheme, Pag-IBIG implemented the Employer’s Accreditation Program, which offers the country’s top employers accreditation to process housing loans for their employees.

The accreditation provides employers faster access to Pag-IBIG’s housing services such as housing loan prequalification, home or housing needs matching, and faster housing loan processing time.

Pag-IBIG also introduced a special lane in several branches for loans amounting to P1 million and above to facilitate faster processing.

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