Protesting farmers accept housing bank’s action on their loans


BANGKOK, Feb 12 – Protesting farmers called off their rally at the Government Housing Bank (GHB) headquarters today after receiving assurances from the bank that they would refrain from legal action against those who fail to pay their debts.

The GHB management promised to forward the farmers’ request for debt settlement to the Finance Ministry and agreed to suspend possible lawsuits against farmers who could not pay their debts.

The bank also agreed not to seize the farmers’ non-performing assets (NPAs).

Members of the Indebted Farmers Network who rallied at the bank beginning yesterday also demanded that the bank wipe out all the farmers’ NPAs and non-performing loans (NPLs) including interest and other fees.

The farmers said their debts would be paid up by the Farmers Rehabilitation and Development Fund (FRDF) of which they are members.

They demanded that the GHB cut the required payment from the Farmers Rehabilitation Fund to the maximum of 30 per cent of the original capital.

GHB managers said the farmers’ proposals will have to be acted upon by the Finance Ministry.

Laiwan Pongsa-ngiem, deputy managing director of the Government Housing Bank, said 1,767 FRDF members are indebted to the bank for a combined amount of Bt500 million, but that the GHB has so far taken action against only 550 farmers who failed to repay their loans which were later became NPLs.

Yossawat Chaisiriwatanakul, a farmer representative, said the indebted farmers will rally at the Government Savings Bank tomorrow to seek similar leniency for their NPAs and NPLs.