Picofinance firms urged to help clients

The Finance Ministry has asked picofinance operators to help alleviate the hardships of their clients struggling with the impact of the pandemic, says Kulaya Tantitemit, director-general of the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO).

She said the outbreak has affected employment and people’s livelihood.

Ms Kulaya said the FPO, which regulates picofinance businesses, sent letters requesting cooperation to operators, urging them to find appropriate methods to ease the financial burdens of their clients.

Among the possible measures are the extension of debt repayment periods, the conversion of short-term debt to long-term, the suspension of monthly instalments or principal payments, and interest rate reductions.

Picofinance business development is one of the ministry’s options in dealing with the problem of loan sharks.

Picofinance operators are limited to offering lending within the province where they are registered.

Picofinance operators with registered capital of at least 5 million baht can extend loans of up to 50,000 per person.

Firms registered as picofinance plus, meaning they have capital of at least 10 million baht, can extend loans of up to 100,000 baht per person.

There are 971 picofinance and picofinance plus firms operating in Thailand, issuing total outstanding loans of 3.94 billion baht, according to the Finance Ministry.

From December 2016 until March this year picofinance operators granted accumulated loans worth 11.8 billion baht to 500,000 clients.

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