Finance Ministry considering helping debtors of loan shark


BANGKOK, 22 January 2013 BANGKOK, 22 January 2013 People indebted to loan sharks may no longer have to avoid paying exorbitant interest rates as the Ministry of Finance is considering a move to allow government financial institutions to refinance their obligations. Director-General,Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) Dr.Somchai Sujjapongse has reportedly proposed to the Finance Ministry a solution to help those struggling to pay off their underground loans by asking government banks to either provide them with new loans or refinance existing ones. 

According to Dr. Somchai, the goal of his proposal is to stamp out shady money lenders by helping people refinance their debts. A special lending window will be provided at every state-owned bank, he added.

As for those who are unable to find common ground with their lenders, a team of police and the Revenue Department will be set up and tasked with negotiating for lower interest rates charged, in an attempt to help debtors improve their financial situation.

He said later that the bank would only grant debtors loans to pay off their lender only after they became financially sound. The Director General said Finance Minister Mr. Kittiratt Na Ranong had agreed with his proposal although further study on the subject was needed.

The Office might ask community leaders overseeing both the community welfare and village funds to take part in the program, given they are already lending their hands to those who owed underground lenders; by requiring debtors to save their money in their savings accounts for a period of time before giving them the loans to pay off their underground debts.