Two borrowers describe their ordeal

Two borrowers describe their ordeal

SINGAPORE - A company he started in India failed and Mr Bhai (not his real name), 40, found himself $120,000 in debt with four banks.

He initially joined a debt management programme with Credit Counselling Singapore, which helps those with financial problems, paying his dues for three months.

But in June last year, the IT officer decided to borrow money from a licensed moneylender. Part of it was to pay off the banks and the rest for personal use.

He couldn't manage the expenses, he said. By the end of the year, he was owing about $20,000 to 15 licensed moneylenders.

As he could not repay some of these loans on time, they sent debt collectors to his home and workplace. They even sent letters of demand to his employers, landing him in trouble with them.

Mr Bhai said debt collectors have visited his house about 100 times since December, at odd times of the night and in the wee hours.

"Once, they came when I wasn't at home. My wife doesn't understand English and they made her cry. She's cried many times over this," said the Singapore permanent resident.

The licensed moneylenders have also e-mailed and faxed letters of demand to his workplace.

"My human resources (HR) officer shouted at me, my manager shouted at me. Where I work, if anyone has financial difficulties, their employment gets terminated," said Mr Bhai tersely, adding he has been warned twice. The next time, he will be axed.

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