One large financial firm, Kennedy Funding Financial, suspended lending in the U.S. Virgin Islands and issued a statement Monday saying the territory’s foreclosure process is too slow and uncertain for the company to protect its assets.
"Due to the incredible delays in the foreclosure process, we have decided to join many other U.S.-based lenders in this action," said Kevin Wolfer, the firm’s chief executive officer. "These delays are preventing lenders from recouping their investment dollars in the islands," he said.
"While the principals of our firm enjoy vacationing in St. Thomas and the other islands, and have found the local people incredibly hospitable, the exorbitant delays in completing a foreclosure process and the inability to even protect and preserve a property when it is being pillaged, we and other lenders have unfortunately been forced to make this difficult decision," said Wolfer.
"Because of the ongoing negative impact on the islands’ financial and real estate markets, it is incumbent upon local officials to correct these problems."
Kennedy Funding will continue to lend throughout the U.S. and internationally, according to Wolfer. "We will continue to fund loans throughout the Caribbean region – we have recently closed loans in the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic, in fact," said Wolfer. "We are actively pursuing opportunities and hope to one day resume lending in the U.S. Virgin Islands."