GSB floats credit plan for informal labour

GSB floats credit plan for informal labour

Customers queue for service at a Government Savings Bank branch in The Mall department store. Varuth Hirunyatheb
Customers queue for service at a Government Savings Bank branch in The Mall department store. Varuth Hirunyatheb

The Government Savings Bank (GSB) is proposing that the Finance Ministry adjust emergency loan conditions to expand the credit line for informal workers after the loan programme received a tepid response.

The bank's emergency loan programme is designed for employees affected by the coronavirus crisis, such as those working in the tourism industry or employees whose salaries have been reduced.

The maximum credit line is set at 50,000 baht per person at 0.35% monthly interest. The repayment period is capped at three years.

The amount of loans approved is in the millions of baht, from a total 20 billion baht allotted to the scheme, said GSB president and chief executive Vitai Ratanakorn.

While many applied for the loan programme, some failed to meet the requirements because they did not have a fixed salary, Mr Vitai said. Other applicants failed to show up for appointments after receiving an SMS message from GSB.

The bank is proposing that loan applicants need not be employees with fixed salaries and instead can be freelancers or informal workers as well.

Loans worth about 10 billion baht could be allocated to this segment of loan applicants, Mr Vitai said.

Adjusting the qualifications should draw more applicants because many freelancers need loans to cover expenses during the crisis, he said.

Other qualifications stipulate that loan applicants must be Thai nationals aged 20 years and up and have a contactable address. Applicants must also have their latest monthly salary slip and a guarantor.

The loan application period runs until Dec 30.

Another emergency loan programme under the GSB applies to both informal workers and employees with fixed salaries.

For informal workers, the credit line is capped at 10,000 baht per person at 0.1% monthly interest. Borrowers do not need a guarantor for loan approval.

Loans worth 12 billion baht have been disbursed to 1.2 million borrowers so far.

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