Singapore imposes tougher rules on moneylenders


SINGAPORE: Singapore authorities have announced tighter rules for licensed moneylenders, banning advertisements in newspapers; Xinhua News quoted local media reports on Friday.

They will have to subscribe to a telephone land line approved by the Registry of Moneylenders, too, and use the number as their contact information instead of relying on mobile phone numbers, the Straits Times said.

The manager of each moneylending outlet must be approved by the registry, too.

The changes will take effect starting from next month, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Law Sim Ann said upon announcing the changes.

They are aimed at protecting the interest of borrowers and to prevent “a reckless borrowing culture.”

There are currently 258 licensed moneylenders here, and the number of complaints against them has gone up. Last year, the registry received 67 complaints, up from 16 in 2009.

Under the new rules, all moneylenders must computerise their business operations and submit electronic reports to the registry every quarter for audits.

David Poh, president of the Moneylenders’ Association of Singapore, said the new rules will improve the image of the industry.

Other restrictions include where and what moneylenders can advertise. They cannot include misleading and unverifiable claims such as “highest loan approval rate in town”. They can advertise only in print or online directories such as the Yellow Pages, their business websites, walls, gates and windows of their offices.