New Moneylending Regulations to Better Protect Borrowers to Come Into Force on 30 Nov 2018

1          From 30 November 2018, the Ministry of Law (“MinLaw”) will implement the first phase of the Moneylenders (Amendment) Act 2018[1] and Moneylenders (Amendment) Rules 2018 to provide better protection for borrowers and strengthen the regulation of licensed moneylenders.

2          The second phase of implementation, to professionalise the moneylending industry, will take effect in the first quarter of 2019.

3          Together, these improvements to the moneylending regime will help to ensure that borrowers have safe access to personal credit.

Better Protection for Borrowers

4          The new rules will introduce aggregate loan caps to limit the amount an individual may borrow from all licensed moneylenders combined. As announced on 4 October 2018, the following caps will apply to Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents, as well as foreigners residing in Singapore[2]:

Borrower’s annual income Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents Foreigners residing in Singapore
Less than $10,000  

$3,000

$1,500
At least $10,000 and less than $20,000 $3,000
At least $20,000 6 times monthly income 6 times monthly income

5          To facilitate the implementation of the aggregate loan cap, a regulatory framework has been introduced for the Moneylenders Credit Bureau (MLCB). The new framework places obligations on the MLCB and licensed moneylenders to strengthen the confidentiality, security, and integrity of borrower data. In fact, this will better enable the MLCB to function as a central repository of moneylending data, and help moneylenders make more informed and responsible lending decisions.

6          The new rules also provide for a self-exclusion framework, to help borrowers regulate their borrowing behaviour and participate in debt assistance schemes which typically require self-exclusion. Under the framework, licensed moneylenders are prohibited from lending to any individual who has applied for self-exclusion. Implementation of the self-exclusion system is on-going; more details will be available in due course.

Strengthening the Regulation of Licensed Moneylenders

7          To prevent undesirable characters from entering the moneylending industry, the approval of the Registrar of Moneylenders will be required before any licensed moneylender can employ or engage any assistant in the business. The Registrar’s approval will also be required before anyone can become a substantial shareholder of, or increase his substantial shareholdings in, a licensed moneylender.

8          In addition, it is now an offence for any licensed moneylender to enter into a loan contract that breaches regulatory caps on interest and fees.

Professionalising the Moneylending Industry (Phase 2)

9          Legislative changes relating to the professionalisation of the moneylending industry will take effect in the first quarter of 2019. All licensed moneylenders will be required to be incorporated as companies limited by shares with a minimum amount of paid-up capital of $100,000, and to submit annual audited accounts to the Registry of Moneylenders.

Past Press Releases on Moneylenders (Amendment) Bill

[1] The Moneylenders (Amendment) Act 2018 was passed by the Parliament on 8 January 2018.

[2] The aggregate loan caps apply to all holders of Work Passes, Dependant’s Passes, Student Passes and Long Term Visit Passes. Holders of Short Term Visit Passes (up to 90 days) will not be cover.

Last updated on 16 Nov 2018

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