By THE PULSE NEWS MEXICO STAFF
Nearly 195,000 Mexicans with outstanding debt to the state-run workers’ housing agency Infonavit (El Instituto del Fondo Nacional de la Vivienda para los Trabajadores) will see their debt to the institute slashed by as much as 55 percent this year, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) announced on Wednesday, Feb. 6, during his daily early morning press conference.
“These people pay and pay and pay and keep on paying,” AMLO said.
“We want to offer them security and the knowledge that no one will be evicted from their homes, as well as the opportunity to pay off their debts and get the title deeds to their homes.”
The new Infonavit regulations, which were announced jointly by AMLO and Infonavit Director Carlos Martínez Velázquez, will eliminate fluctuating capital and interest rates pegged to the minimum wage and replace them with fixed rates that will remain frozen for the entirety of the loan.
In 2019, a total of 194,875 low-income workers will benefit from the new program, and by the end of AMLO’s six-year term in 2024, a total of 745,000 Mexican workers will see cuts in their monthly mortgage payments.
“All of this is part of a bigger program to fight corruption,” the president said.
“We are cleaning up Infonavit, the same way we are cleaning up the government, where the heads of the housing agency were living the high life, just like those of other autonomous organizations that got special privileges.”
Martínez Velázquez also said that there will be a review of thousands of past mortgages of properties that were constructed by Infonavit during the administration of former President Enrique Peña Nieto (during which time the operating costs of the egency increased by 80 percent), in areas that were too far away from the beneficiaries’ workplaces to be practical.
Some of these houses, he said, were even constructed in high-risk areas and in places where there was no access to electricity or running water.
As a result, Martínez Velázquez said, many of the houses were simply abandoned by the buyers.
“Last year alone, 58,000 Infonavit houses were abandoned,” he said, adding that all new constructions would be in areas near the mortgage recipients’ workplaces and in safe areas.