See underlined portion below. I hope this means no more calls from telemarketers pushing personal loans! Woohoo!
SINGAPORE: From next month, more people will be eligible for unsecured credit facilities. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has lowered the minimum annual income requirement from S$30,000 to S$20,000.
However, this lower limit does not apply to credit cards and remains unchanged at S$30,000 for individuals at or below 55 years of age and S$15,000 for individuals above 55 years of age.
The move, which is still subject to a cap of two times one’s monthly income, has been welcomed by Credit Counselling Singapore.
Kuo How Nam, president, Credit Counselling Singapore, said: “We’ve always believed banking should actually be inclusive and you shouldn’t exclude people just on the basis of income.
“There is always a danger here of people getting into trouble, borrowing too much. But I believe this is still a good move because you cannot ignore the fact that there are people who may have a genuine need for unsecured credit."
However, if the borrower has an annual income of at least S$30,000, he can obtain unsecured credit of up to four times his monthly income.
MAS said the new rules state that borrowers with an annual income of less than $20,000 can only take a small unsecured personal loan not exceeding S$3,000, with the interest capped at 18 per cent per annum.
The unsecured lending provisions will not apply to high net worth Singaporean or Permanent Residents earning at least S$120,000 per annum, and non-Singaporeans/Permanent Residents.
The unsecured lending provisions also provide for exclusions from their application for certain types of loans, for example, loans for purposes of medical treatment, study and renovation.
As part of the new rules, banks will be required to be more stringent when it comes to lending.
MAS is now making it a requirement for financial institutions to conduct comprehensive checks with Credit Bureau (Singapore) before approving each new credit card, charge card or unsecured credit facility.
Financial institutions will also be barred from making unsolicited offers of unsecured credit facilities such as credit lines to customers unless these customers write in for them.
This follows similar restrictions on unsolicited offers of credit cards already in place.
Also, when it comes to explaining credit charges, late payments and other additional information, banks will now have to be much clearer than before.
MAS said these changes follow extensive consultations it held with the Law Ministry, financial industry and the public.
These changes will be incorporated into the new Moneylenders Rules which will take effect from March 1.
These will come under the new Moneylenders Act which also takes effect on the same date.
It was passed by Parliament in November 2008 and replaces the existing Act.
MAS said the new Act will allow for a more flexible and progressive approach to the regulation of moneylending in keeping with the modern credit economy.
It also clarifies the moneylending activities to be licensed, modernises moneylending operations and tightens the regulatory framework. – CNA/vm