Welfare recipients to get GSB perks

Welfare recipients to get GSB perks

The state-owned Government Savings Bank (GSB) plans to offer zero-interest loans for the first year and double or triple the traditional savings rate for low-income earners.

The cheap loans and high-rate deposits are aimed at providing those who are at the bottom end of the income scale access to financial sources in compliance with Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitsak's policy to address poverty's root causes.

The GSB loans target low-income merchants and the self-employed. These groups, which number more than 30 million people, typically find it difficult to access bank loans because they lack financial statements, said Chatchai Payuhanaveechai, GSB chief executive and president.

Even those without financial statements can deposit money in the bank's new scheme, which will offer double the rate of the traditional savings account for one year, helping them qualify for GSB loans.

When they are able to borrow from the bank, their savings in GSB accounts will get interest rates triple those of normal accounts if they want to continue saving, Mr Chatchai said.

For instance, low-income earners who want to buy homes valued at 1 million baht are required to save 7,000 baht a month at GSB.

Merchants who use GSB's quick response (QR) code payment are eligible to secure loans when they put money into GSB savings accounts for only six months, Mr Chatchai said, noting that the new digital payment system lets the bank track income streams.

In a related development, the bank will coordinate with 17 universities to provide job training to the government welfare scheme's recipients. They can then apply for the bank's occupation loans after they complete such training, Mr Chatchai said.

At first, 17,000-18,000 recipients are expected to join the training.

The Finance Ministry is working out the details for the second phase of the government's welfare scheme, which is slated to go before the cabinet next month, with enactment likely scheduled for January.

There are 11.7 million recipients in the government's welfare and subsidy scheme this year.

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