09 September 2014
Oral reply to Parliamentary Question on Unlicensed Moneylending Harasment
Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs whether the current licensing regime for moneylenders has been effective in reducing the rate of unlicensed moneylending related harassment cases against debtors and innocent neighbours of debtors.
For the six-month period between January and June 2014, there were 3,235 reported cases of unlicensed moneylending (UML) and UML-related harassment. This is 31.6% lower than the 4,729 cases reported in the same period in 2013. The number of reported cases has been declining steadily since 2010.
2. The improvement in the UML situation can be attributed to the tough laws enacted, strong enforcement efforts against loanshark syndicates and the high level of community support in the fight against UML activities. Another factor is the presence of licensed moneylenders who provide access to credit for borrowers who are unable to obtain credit from banks or financial institutions, and who might otherwise turn to UMLs.
3. However, there have been cases of loansharks operating under the cover of licensed lenders. Two cases uncovered in recent years have been charged in court and convicted for UML-related offences. Police will continue to work with the relevant agencies to monitor the activities of licensed moneylenders.