Best Banks for Mortgages in The Bahamas: Scotia Bank vs Commonwealth Bank vs Central Bank of The Bahamas

If you’re considering a relocation down to The Bahamas, you’ve likely wondered which are the best banks for getting mortgages in The Bahamas. Buying and managing property abroad isn’t as clear-cut as buying in your home country, even if you’re a new Bahamian resident. Foreign financial institutions may have different:

 

  • Loan conditions
  • Registration requirements
  • Residential and commercial buying processes
  • Customer service standards

Bahamian banks might also have different requirements for businesses versus individuals. 

Here at Better Home & Gardens Real Estate MCR Bahamas, we make it our business to know how to best support international clients buying foreign property in The Bahamas, whether it’s a luxury waterfront estate or a sophisticated Nassau condominium

That’s why we put together a list of the best banks for mortgages in The Bahamas. Ready to live in The Bahamas? Let’s dive in, starting with how to get a mortgage. 

 

How to Get a Mortgage in The Bahamas 

In The Bahamas, foreigners and non-residents don’t face restrictions in purchasing property. It’s also a popular route toward permanent residency and eventually, Bahamian citizenship. Currently, Bahamian mortgage interest rates average at just over 5% as of Q4 2021. 

The best part? There’s no better time to buy in The Bahamas, as the market is booming. Let’s look at how you can score a mortgage. 

 

Common Documents Required for a Mortgage 

Here are some mortgage loan conditions from Scotiabank Bahamas that we’ll use as an example: 

  • Identification
  • Proof of address
  • Work permit or permanent residency card (if applicable)
  • Proof of assets and liabilities
  • Proof of down payment funds
  • A real estate sale agreement
  • Appraisal
  • Mortgage deed
  • Rent and maintenance receipts

Depending on your work status (salary, self-employed, commissioned), you may also be asked for some or a combination of these documents:

  • Letter of employment
  • Bank statements
  • Income tax returns
  • Payslips
  • Business license or registration
  • Financial statements
  • Certification of incorporation
  • Audited financial statements

Bottom line? Even the best banks for mortgages in The Bahamas require solid documentation before approving a loan. 

Getting a Mortgage: Scotia Bank vs Commonwealth Bank vs Central Bank of The Bahamas

Now that you have a general idea about what the best banks for mortgages in The Bahamas require, let’s dive into the difference between each one. 

Scotia Bank 

scotiabank logo

Scotiabank Bahamas has an online mortgage center with professional instructions to begin the mortgage process. While they don’t list mortgage rates for foreign buyers, they do provide an extensive mortgage checklist for your review, indicating necessary documentation if you’re self-employed, own a business, earn commission, or receive a salary. 

After the prequalification process, the bank will inform you of your loan approval amount, including rates and terms. Scotiabank is well-versed in providing mortgages for subdivisions, construction, investment, commercial, and residential properties. 

Mortgage Services:

Mortgage Terms 

  • Shared after prequalification, vary for each borrower

Other Banking Services: 

  • Checking and Savings accounts
  • Insurance
  • Auto loans
  • Credit cards and credit lines

Locations: 

8 Locations in Nassau:

  • Nassau Main
  • Palmdale
  • Wulff Road & Jerome
  • Bay Street East
  • Thompson Blvd.
  • Cable Beach
  • East Street and Soldier Road
  • Carmichael Road

Contact Information: 

Phone: 

  • 242-356-1697-9  
  • 242-356-1697/8/9

Email: customercare-bahamas@scotiabank.com

 

Commonwealth Bank 

The Bahamas Commonwealth Bank claims competitive mortgage rates in The Bahamas for eligible applicants (people over the age of 18 with at least two years of employment history that meet credit requirements). The mortgage home page mentions some documentation to bring to your first meeting, including: 

  • Mortgage certificate
  • Recent service and maintenance charge statements 
  • Evidence of customs duty status 
  • Real property tax bill with evidence of payment.
  • Home appraisal 
  • Employment letter
  • Homeowner insurance 
  • National insurance card
  • Construction and contractors’ contract if undergoing construction, including estimates for completion
  • Contractors’ policy during the construction period.
  • Purchase agreement 
  • Passport identification

Mortgage Services:

  • Mortgage loans for:
    • Single-family conventional homes
    • Townhouses, apartments including duplexes and triplexes, condominiums
  • Home equity loans
  • Real estate and commercial lending

Mortgage Terms 

  • Loan amounts of up to 95% of the purchase price
  • Maximum 35-year amortization period

Other Banking Services: 

  • Checking and Savings accounts
  • Personal loans
  • Auto loans
  • Education loans
  • Credit and debit cards
  • Debt consolidation

Locations: 12 locations throughout The Bahamas 

New Providence/Nassau: 

  • Oakes Field Branch
  • Golden Gates Branch
  • Prince Charles Branch
  • Commonwealth Bank Plaza Branch
  • East Bay Street Branch
  • Cable Beach Branch
  • Town Centre Mall Branch
  • Wulff Road Branch

Grand Bahama:

  • Freeport Branch
  • Lucaya Branch
  • Marsh Harbour Branch

Eleuthera:

  • Spanish Wells Branch

Contact Information: 

Phone: 

242-502-6200: New Providence

242-352-8307: Grand Bahama

242-367-2370: Abaco

242-333-4800: Spanish Wells, Eleuthera

Email messaging

Central Bank of The Bahamas 

While people might look to the Central Bank of the Bahamas for mortgages, it does not offer mortgage services. However, it does provide other services.  

 

Other Banking Services: 

  • Exchange control
  • Financial statistics
  • Deposit insurance
  • Currency exchange and digital currency
  • Bank supervision

Location:

Mount Fitz Willams, Government House, Nassau 

Contact Information: 

Phone: +1 (242) 302-2600

Email: cbob@centralbankbahamas.com

 

Other Top Banks in The Bahamas for Mortgages 

FirstCaribbean International Bank

FirstCaribbean International Bank is owned by the Canadian bank CIBC. With 12 Bahamas branches, it’s a popular mortgage lender amongst foreign buyers. FirstCaribbean offers mortgage loan amounts of up to 95% of the home purchase price, and a maximum of 35 years to repay the loan. 

A great aspect of FirstCaribbean mortgages is the lack of difference in mortgage terms for building a home in construction versus already-built properties. Some banks offer shorter loan terms and less financing, whereas FirstCaribbean keeps the financing and amortization period maximums the same. 

The bank offers a handy mortgage application checklist including required documentation like identification, proof of income, liability and asset documentation, construction information, and much more. The first step is checking the bank’s mortgage loan calculator, then completing an online application

Mortgage Services:

  • Mortgage loans

Mortgage Terms 

  • Up to 95% of the purchase price for mortgage loans
  • 35-year mortgage period maximum

 

Bank of The Bahamas Limited

The Bank of Bahamas Limited has 12 branch locations across the islands, including in Bimini, Grand Bahama, and Nassau. The bank’s mortgage page documents a few requirements for application and approval, including passport identification, proof of address and employment, bank statements, construction plans and cost estimates, appraisals, and sales agreements. Borrowers enjoy mortgages for both residential, commercial, and investment properties. 

This bank has dedicated mortgage specialists to consult you throughout the entirety of the purchase process, indicating comprehensive customer service standards. 

The bank claims competitive interest rates and flexible loan terms but doesn’t mention specific numbers. 

Mortgage Services:

  • Mortgage loans
  • Home equity loans
  • Refinancing

Mortgage Terms 

  • Not listed

RBC-Caribbean 

The popular Canadian bank giant RBC has a Caribbean department with plenty of services and branches in The Bahamas. Out of all the banks on our list, RBC is the most transparent when it comes to mortgage terms and conditions. The bank clearly outlines different down payment requirements depending on the type of property, as well as credit and collateral requirements for construction versus residential property mortgages. 

If you’re looking for a residential mortgage loan, you’ll need collateral of homeowners insurance, first mortgage registration, agreement of sale, and an appraisal. Construction projects require the same collateral, but also include contractor’s estimates and approved building plans. 

Mortgage Services:

  • Mortgage indemnity insurance (80%)
  • Construction/renovation loans
  • Home equity loans
  • Investment property mortgages
  • Residential mortgage loans

Mortgage Terms 

  • 90% financing for residential; 66.7% for investment properties
  • 30-year amortization period for residential; 20 years for investment

 

Conclusion: Getting a Mortgage in The Bahamas 

The best banks for mortgages in The Bahamas all offer various mortgage services and conditions to help you find the right loan. From construction and home equity loans to conventional mortgages for residential properties, The Bahamas has a wide variety of options for international buyers, residents, and locals. 

How far are you in your Bahamian real estate journey? If you need help navigating the market and finding the best property options, MCR Bahamas is here to support you. Contact us today to get started finding your dream Bahama home.

Best Banks for Mortgages in The Bahamas: Scotia Bank vs Commonwealth Bank vs Central Bank of The Bahamas

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