CUENCA DIGESTNew U.S. dollar coins join Sacagewea in Ecuador

May 27, 2012

Sacagawea, make room for the U.S. Presidents and Susan B. Anthony.

Thanks to the United States mint, Ecuadoreans will soon be using dollar coins bearing the likenesses of 20 U.S. Presidents as well as civil rights pioneer Susan B. Anthony. Distribution of the new coins bagan last week by Ecuador´s Banco Central and the new currency should be in broad circulation by mid-summer.

The Sacagawea dollar has been the coin of the realm in Ecuador since the country converted to the U.S. dollar following a financial collapse in 2000. Other U.S. dollar coins have been legal tender since 2000, according to the bank, but have not been readily accepted in daily commerce.


ECUADOR NOTARY FEES WILL DROP BEGNNING JUNE 1

Ecuador´s notary fees will drop on June 1, governed by a new rate schedule ordered by the national Judicial Council.

The reductions will amount to as much as 75% in some cases, according to the council, which says that intentions is to provide relief for economically vulternerable groups and the elderly.

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Under the new schedule, notary fees on real estate valued at less than $60,000 will be 50% lower than the current rate, established in September 2007.

According to the Judicial Council, there are 437 licensed notaries in Ecuador.

LAS AMERICAS / GRAN COLOMBIA CONSTRUCTION IS 70% COMPLETE

According to the Ministry of Transportation and Public Works, construction on the Av. Las Americas / Gran Colombia interchange is more than 70% complete and is ahead of schedule.

The project replaces the old redondel and routes Av. Las Americas traffic through an underground tunnel to avoid the congestion that had plagued the intersetion for years. The work also includes the track for Cuenca´s new light rails system scheduled to begin construction in the fall.


NATIONAL ASSEMBLY PASSES BILL TO RESTRICT BANK MORTGAGE PRACTICES

Ecuador's legislature has passed a bill that would require banks to forgive any outstanding debt on mortgages for first-time home buyers of properties worth up to $146,000 if they default and forfeit the home.

The measure, aimed at discouraging a real estate bubble of the type that has caused so much pain in the United States and Europe, won praise from many Ecuadoreans on Wednesday. The country's banking industry did not immediately comment but had said previously that it will cause mortgages to be more expensive.

Approved by a 68-21 vote, the bill also covers loans by banks to first-time purchasers of automobiles that cost up to $29,200.

President Rafael Correa, whose social spending has made him widely popular, praised the legislation but did not say whether he would sign it or possibly seek amendments.

The president, who constantly rails against Ecuador's "oligarchs" and has already moved to diminish the power of banks, accused the lawmakers who voted against the measure of "defending the bankers, not the depositors."

Pablo Davalos, an economist at Catholic University, said the move would be good for most Ecuadoreans.

"This law is positive for the consumer and negative for the banker, who now has to increase his reserves and that means less liquidity and less profit for the bankers," Davalos said.

Cesar Robalino, Ecuador's Association of Private Banks previously said the measure would discourage new home construction and make getting mortgages more difficult for consumers. He told a radio station May 20 that a commission of three bankers was seeking a meeting with Correa to discuss the legislation, among other issues.

Credit: Associated Press

Photo caption: The Sacagawea dollar coin, minted in the U.S., will soon be joined by other U.S. dollar coins.

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