Help with debts for those who have trouble repaying both banks and licensed moneylenders

The measure comes at a time when more people are likely to require support. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Those who have borrowed from licensed moneylenders and have problems repaying them can approach Credit Counselling Singapore (CCS) for help with restructuring their debt from Wednesday (April 1), provided they also have bank loans.

Announcing the move on Tuesday, Credit Association of Singapore (CAS) and CCS said that the new debt management programme is different from what they had been doing in the past 15 years.

Where previously CCS helped only people who owed banks and credit card companies debt, CCS will now also offer its consultancy services for distressed borrowers who have both bank and licensed moneylender debts.

The measure comes at a time when more people are likely to require support. With plummeting business sentiments, and lower consumer activity due to disruptions caused by people staying home, the Singapore economy has already taken a hit, shrinking by 2.2 per cent in the first quarter of the year,

On Tuesday, the Monetary Authority of Singapore had said that individuals can apply to banks and insurers to defer repayment of property loans, among others, to ease their financial strain during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The two credit agencies directed those with debt only to licensed moneylenders to seek help from social service agencies - such as Adullam Life Counselling, AMP Singapore and Arise2Care - which can help borrowers work out repayment arrangements with moneylenders, while also offering addiction counselling and support group therapy.

Those who want to seek help from CCS can either do online learning on CCS' website or attend a group talk in person, where they will learn about what to do when faced with a debt problem, what their options are, and common ways of debt collection used by creditors.

Borrowers who require further assistance can submit requests for one-to-one financial counselling, which aims to help them work out individualised debt management programmes.

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