當我在多倫多擔任室內設計師的時 候，Home Savings & Loan是我其中一個客 戶，它是另類的貸款公司，標榜自己可以替 代銀行，並可以提供比信貸公司較低的利 率。雖然我知道，以突出廣告作宣傳的信貸 公司如亞洲聯合財務﹙UA Finance﹚或邦民 財務﹙Promise﹚在香港也大行其道，但我 也寧願選擇在香港與Home Savings & Loan同 等級數的信貸公司，也不願選擇其它銀行， 所以我開始四出打聽香港與Home Savings & Loan同等級數的信貸公司的資料。香港作為 亞洲的國際都會兼金融中心，我相信這裡一 定有適合我的選擇。當我與其他置業者同樣 在置業的過程中處處碰壁，不得要領時，我 更希望知道與銀行同走傳統路線的是誰，於 是我瀏覽香港按揭證券有限公司﹙HKMC﹚ 的網站，看看到底是誰批准本地數十間銀行 以外的信貸公司上市。 在機緣巧合下，我在HKMC的網站發現歐 力士財務公司﹙ORIX Finance Services﹚榜 上有名，是6間獲准成為抵押貸款銷售商之 一，我決定立即實行B計劃，即使當時我在 銀行申請的按揭貸款計劃泡湯，至少我也有 兩手準備。於是，我親自到訪歐力士，並與 他們的代表Josephine會面，希望了解清楚她 公司的資料，她亦很詳細地向我介紹她們公 司的背景。 歐力士與亞洲聯合財務及邦民財務一樣，總 部設於日本，自1970年代初已於香港展業 務，其核心業務是為大企業提供設備融資， 同時亦提供消費融資服務，業務範圍涵蓋汽 車和置業按揭貸款。Josephine強調公司並 不會投放資源宣傳按揭貸款，因為它只佔整 體業務的一小部份，但她仍然樂意聆聽我需 要，以評估我是否合資格申請她們的貸款。 我終於可以鬆一口氣了，而且更有信心計劃 新居的裝修。 It’s a catch-22 to be sure, and I appreciated my bank manager Simon advising me to err on the side of caution. My situation is not uncommon: I am the sole proprietor of a small business I run from home. Though I keep stringent records, I expense a lot of what would be considered living expenses due to the nature of my work. Think of people such as insurance agents: they expense meals, travel and clothing, as much of their work involves entertaining clients. When I was practising interior design in Toronto, one of my clients was an alternate moneylender called Home Savings & Loan. It billed itself as an alternative to banks, with lower interest rates than credit unions. While I know that moneylenders such as UA Finance or Promise are prevalent in Hong Kong due to their prominent advertisements, I began to ask around for a Home Savings & Loan’s Hong Kong equivalent rather than try another bank. In a financial hub such as Asia’s world city, there must be options. When I hit brick walls with homebuyers I knew who all went the traditional route with banks, I took a look at The Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation’s (HKMC) website to determine which approved money lenders were listed aside from the dozens of banks in the city. That was how I came across ORIX Finance Services. Listed on HKMC’s website, it was one of a half-dozen approved mortgage loan sellers. I decided to implement Plan B immediately, in order to have a back up in place if things went pear-shaped with my bank. A walk-in visit to check out ORIX resulted in an impromptu meeting with Josephine, one of its representatives who discussed what her company was all about at great length. ORIX, like Promise and UA Finance, is headquartered in Japan, and its Hong Kong operation has been around since the early 1970s. Its core business is the equipment financing for big corporations, while its consumer financing section covers vehicle and home mortgage loans. Josephine emphasised it does not promote its mortgage loans, which makes up a small percentage of its overall business. However, she was perfectly happy to hear me out and assess whether I would qualify for a loan with her organisation. I breathed a sigh of relief: now that my eggs were in more than one basket, I felt more confident about planning ahead on renovations for my new home. While in countries such as Canada, where the interest rates between banks and alternate lenders vary only by a per cent or two, ORIX and similar finance companies lend out at prime to prime plus 1% . With prime being 5.25%, that is more than three to four per cent higher that the rates many major banks charge for a home mortgage loan. That equates to an extra five to seven thousand per month for properties costing less than $7 million for payments on 20-year mortgages with a loan-to-value ratio of 60%. While five extra grand is a hefty chunk to fork over every 30 days, it still beats losing out on my dream home altogether – not to mention all the associated penalties.
Squarefoot eMagazine 245
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