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Posted: Monday, November 25th, 2013 1:43 PM HST

Hawaiian Home Lands cuts mortgage interest rates

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is lowering its mortgage interest rates for the first time in 17 years and taking other steps to try to ease delinquent loans.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Friday that the agency is making several moves to try to address criticisms raised in an audit earlier this year.

The department brief state legislators on its plans on Thursday. Director Jobie Masagatini says the delinquency problem that goes back several decades is tough to solve.

The department planning a pilot program for the most badly overdue loans on the Big Island. It also plans a new tracking system for loans that are six months overdue.

Masagatini says the department has to balance between helping homeowners and sending a message that they don't have to pay.

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