First Hawaiian Bank announced several new products for the Guam market at the 2007 Ginefli’e I Tano Realtor Awards Program held at its Maite branch on Feb. 8. Among the new products are a Veterans Affairs loan and a 40-year mortgage. In addition several new features not previously offered by First Hawaiian’s branches on Guam were unveiled.

Wesley Young vice president of the residential real estate division of First Hawaiian Bank; said "First Hawaiian Bank has been authorized to handle VA loans on Guam now. We’ve gone through the process with the VA as well as the training and certification because of the relocation of the troops [8 000 Marines to Guam] and we thought it would be a good product for any veteran as well as the active military."

He said VA loans are mainly for active military members and veterans "" allowing them to borrow up to 100% with no money down. It is also available for re-finance transactions but only with 90% financing.

"That is a feature that the government offers its veterans and can be used for any purchase transaction."

Young said the VA loan is available at all of the branches in Guam but is not available in Saipan.

"We also do 40-year mortgages now. The advantage of a 40-year mortgage is payments are stretched out over a 40-year term so you have a smaller payment. Thus it allows people to buy more homes now because the payments are smaller"¦ This is a new product that First Hawaiian Bank offers and it gives the customer the option for a 40-year amortization versus a 30-year amortization."

Although the interest rate is higher for the 40-year loan Young said "That’s a price adjustment done by our investors. The bank doesn’t make any more money off of this one."

First Hawaiian also introduced its 30-year loan with an interest rate locked in for 10 years.

"Some people prefer a 10-year fixed period "¦ The advantage of a 10-year fixed period is the interest rate is lower than a 30-year " Young said.

Among the features highlighted at the event were "long-term locks" and financing up to 95%.

"Prior to this it was only 90%. We just got word on Feb. 16 that we got approval to do 95% financing on Guam "¦ Buyers only need 5% down plus the closing cost."

The "long-term lock" is the ability to lock in interest rates "" in anticipation of interest rates going up "" for up to a year.

"We take our going interest rate. We do an adder to it "" we will add on a certain margin to the rate "" but we guarantee you that interest rate won’t exceed the rate that you locked. In exchange we ask you to commit "" meaning giving us a 1% loan fee. When you come in to refinance your loan that 1% that you put with us is like a deposit. We will refund that to you and allow you to apply that to your loan."

With the long-term locked interest rate comes "free float down" "" which means 30 days prior to closing your loan if the interest rate is lower First Hawaiian will give you the lower interest rate.

"It’s a win-win for you. It’s a good feature to have in the rising rate environment that we have now " Young said.

First Hawaiian has three branches in Guam "" Maite Dededo and Tamuning "" and two branches in Saipan. MBJ