With debt moratoriums enacted during Thailand’s lockdown expiring, Pattaya-area banks are taking residents and business owners to court to collect.
Travel agents, real estate agents and marketers alike are being hauled into court-ordered mediation sessions to work out payment plans, but Pattaya locals say that, although the lockdown has been lifted, business has not recovered, leaving them with no money to repay loans of hundreds of thousands or millions of baht.
Thai household debt hit 80 percent of the country’s gross domestic product in the second quarter and could reach 90 percent this year, exceeding the highest debt-GDP ratio recorded in the 18 years the Bank of Thailand has been keeping records.
In the mediation sessions, Pattaya debtors have been asking for additional grace periods of a month to a year.
BoT Assistant Gov. Thanyanit Niyomkarn said the central bank has opened Debt Clinic, a center where borrowers can get help from Financial Consumer Protection Center to restructure their debts or obtain other assistance.
The Financial Consumer Protection Center 1213 hotline can also be a resource for those in debt to obtain assistance in contacting banks or agencies to resolve debt-related lawsuits.
Thanyanit said the central bank will not intervene in cases of banks chasing delinquent loans, but it can act as a middleman to jumpstart a mediation process or ensure borrowers can obtain legal assistance.