Written Answer by Minister for Law, K Shanmugam, to Parliamentary Question on Harassment by Licensed Moneylenders
28 Jan 2016 Posted in Parliamentary speeches and responses
Mr Christopher de Souza, Member of Parliament for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC
To ask the Minister for Law given the increasing number of cases of harassment and intimidation by licensed moneylenders (a) whether stronger measures can be introduced to protect borrowers; and (b) whether the time has come to introduce clear guidelines or regulations on acceptable debt collection practices and behaviour, as was recommended by the Advisory Committee on Moneylending in its Final Report.
The number of reports filed at the Registry of Moneylenders against licensed moneylenders for debt collection-related activities has fallen significantly from 124 in 2013 to 45 in 2015. Borrowers who encounter criminal behaviour from licensed moneylenders or their debt collectors should report the matter to the police or the Registry of Moneylenders. Moneylenders found to have committed offences may have their licences suspended, not renewed, or revoked by the Registry.
There are sufficient safeguards currently to protect debtors from unreasonable or illegal conduct by creditors, including licensed moneylenders or their debt collectors. For example, the Protection from Harassment Act 2014 provides for criminal sanctions and civil remedies against unreasonable harassing behaviour.
The Ministry of Law has implemented some of the recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Moneylending and will be implementing other recommendations in the coming months. The recommendation to introduce a set of guidelines for licensed moneylenders on acceptable debt collection practices will be reviewed at a later date, to give the moneylending industry some time to adjust to other regulatory changes.
Last updated on 28 Jan 2016