UOB suing over inflated housing loans

Romesh NavaratnarajahFebruary 29, 2016

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Singapore’s High Court has allowed United Overseas Bank (UOB) to proceed with legal action against two property agents, five individuals and Lippo Marina Collection (LMC), a subsidiary of Lippo Group, reported The Straits Times.

The defendants are being sued by the bank for their alleged failure to disclose the lavish furniture rebates offered by the developer to buyers of 38 apartments at the Marina Collection condominium.

UOB claims that because they were not informed about the rebates, they granted a higher loan amount to the condo buyers. Otherwise, they would have cut the mortgage quantum.

For example, the buyer of a $5.98 million unit was given a furniture rebate of $1.78 million. But the purchaser got a bank loan of $4.79 million, which is higher than the actual sales price of $4.2 million.

The bank also alleged that the distorted prices for the 99-year leasehold units infringed on the mortgage rules introduced by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). It also claimed that the buyers do not have the financial capability to repay the loans, as 37 of the 38 loans are already in default.

Countering UOB’s claim, LMC said the responsible parties in a housing loan agreement are solely the buyers and the bank. In addition, it had no knowledge of the misrepresentation of the actual sales price.

The two property agents also jointly denied the accusation that they conspired to deceive the bank. They said UOB’s vice-president of housing loans at the time was cognisant in all matters relating to the buyers’ mortgage applications. Hence, it cannot be said that the bank was not aware.

 

Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories email romesh@propertyguru.com.sg

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