Student Loan Fund targets 120,000 defaulters

Student Loan Fund targets 120,000 defaulters

Debtors will be offered resettlement plan

The Student Loan Fund (SLF) is expected to sue about 120,000 people who have failed to repay, in the past five years, their debts incurred with the fund, fund manager Chainarong Kajchapanan says.

The move was unveiled at Wednesday's launch of the fund's new debt-payment channel, in which debtors are now allowed to get their instalments paid using the QR code system.

Those who may receive a writ regarding their overdue debts with the SLF, however, won't have to get too worried about the prospect of legal action. They just have to follow instructions provided, which may include an appointment for them to go to court with their guarantors in their loan agreements with the SLF, he said.

Debtors will be required to undergo a settlement in court with the SLF and the latter will normally offer a nine-year debt settlement programme, he said.

In the given nine years, debtors will have to pay off their debts, interests and fines, Mr Chainarong said.

The average debt these 120,000 former students owe the SLF and failed to pay is 100,000 baht per person, he said.

Since 1996, the SLF has loaned about 5.4 million students 570 billion baht, about 800,000 of whom have already paid off their debts while another 50,000 debtors have either died, become disabled or eventually been assigned to the non-performing debt group, he said.

There are about 4 million debtors active in the system.

About 1 million of them pay their debt instalments regularly while more than 2 million others have missed their debt payments in the past decade, he said.

Of the 2 million debtors, 1.2 million people have already been sued by the SLF over their combined debts of 48 billion baht, he said. The SLF manager, however, said the debt-payment situation continues to improve and the fund expects to receive a total debt payment of 26 billion baht this year and 30 billion baht next year.

As for the student loans prepared for students needing them this year, he said, the SLF has prepared about 30 billion baht for about 730,000 students across the country, he said.

At present, there are 170,000 debtors who are civil servants and their combined debts are 16 billion baht, he said, adding that only 90,000 of these debtors pay their debts regularly while the rest don't.

In a bid to solve this problem, the SLF, under the powers of a new law, requires government agencies to have the salaries of the debtors who work for them deducted to pay their debts, he said.

Starting in October, all debtors who are civil servants having failed to pay off their debts with the SLF will see their salaries deducted by the Comptroller-General's Department and sent to the SLF to pay the debts, he said.

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