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Critics call for more steps on 'card slave' problem
The government will have to come up with new and more effective measures to solve the snowballing "card slave" problem since very few people with credit and cash card debts are expected to complete negotiations with financial institutions on repayment before the deadline of April 10.
Lin Yung-sung, a lawyer offering pro bono service for "card slaves" free of charge, yesterday criticized the claim by Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) officials that more than 30,000 cardholders have completed negotiations with card-issuing organizations.
In fact, only more than 1,000 customers have actually signed the new contracts with new repayment terms, he said.
At a press conference held with a mentally challenged woman and her father, Lin said the woman was led by staff of three banks to get NT$720,000 in credit loans in three days in November 2003.
The credit cards issued to the woman also contributed her staggering debts of NT$2.9 million.
The woman is now forced to repay NT$32,000 a month. The woman's father said the banks should have never issued cards or lent month to her daughter.
The banks even did not bother to make a phone call to check with him before digging the trap for her daughter who has mental and physical problems.
The lawyer said collectors from some banks even force some cardholders to repay a figure two times the cardholder's monthly wage while the courts normally enforce debtors to make monthly repayment of less than one third of the person's income.
FSC officials said they couldn't believe what they have heard.
But the FSC has instructed all banks to send contracts to the debtors who would be treated as having signed the pacts if they do not raise objection in a period of one month and have made the first monthly repayment.
Critics said the issue involving the 500,000 "card slaves" is more a social problem than a financial problem.
2006-05-15 15:10:53 補充：
They said that debtors who promised to clear their debts within one year can get preferential interest rate of 3.88 percent per annum while those who cannot repay the debts will face much high rate of 12.8 percent for seven years.
2006-05-15 15:11:25 補充：
This means that those of the weakest financial standing are saddled with the highest financial burden.
The "card slave" problem boosted the average bad loan ratios for credit card loans and cash card loans to 3.02 percent and 2.12 percent respectively in January.
2006-05-15 15:11:34 補充：
Eight banks, including Citibank and Shanghai Commercial and Savings Bank, registered non-performing credit card loan ratios exceeding three percent, according to the FSC.