SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands — The U.S. credit crisis has extended far out into the Pacific territories.
Sixty percent of homeowners under a 10-year-old government-backed loan program in the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are in default on their loans, The Marianas Variety newspaper reported, citing the Marianas Public Housing Trust and the Marianas Housing Corp.
Lawmakers say many homeowners could be forced to move into smaller homes or move out of the territory because they cannot make loan payments. The loans were issued under a $10 million program set up in 1998.
Republican Sen. Paul A. Manglona said lawmakers are alarmed by the high percentage of borrowers that are in default.
“The bottom-line is we’re concerned about what will happen to these 60 percent delinquent homeowners,” Manglona said. “If President Bush is doing something to help prevent foreclosures of homes in the states, what are we doing here in the CNMI?”
Manglona said lawmakers expect the land trust, which has taken over the delinquent loans, to come up with recommendations for helping owners so they do not have to abandon their homes. He suggested repackaging the loans and reducing interest rates.
**60 Percent of Marianas in Foreclosure **