Covid 19 Managing your Business in Singapore During Crisis

Covid-19: Managing Your Business in Singapore during Crisis

Covid-19 has caused economies to shut down and devastated businesses across the globe and Singapore is no exception.

Similarly, to curb the spread of corona virus, Singapore entered into its own version of lock down — circuit breaker — for a total period of 1 month, 3 weeks and 4 days lasting from 7 April 2020 to 1 June 2020.

Businesses heaved a sigh of relief when Singapore decided to end the circuit breaker on 1 June and laid out a 3-phase plan to re-open the economy.

Covid-19 Phases in Singapore

Phase 1 – Safe reopening – only businesses and activities that don’t pose a high risk of transmission

Phase 2 – Safe transition – almost entire economy will reopen but there will still be restriction on activities with involve large number of people

Phase 3 – Safe Nation – social, cultural, religious and business gatherings or events can resume but number of people will be capped. Will likely remain in this phase till a vaccine is found.

This is done with the understanding that the number of cases will likely rise again as activities start resuming, so this phased approach will be able to help them identify and contain new cases a lot quicker to prevent new clusters from forming.

Covid-19: Entering Phase 2 of Circuit Breaker

After 18 days in Phase 1, Singapore officially shifted to Phase 2 on 19 June.

In this phase, while businesses that allow for telecommuting should continue to do so, more brick and mortar businesses such as retail, F&B (dine-in), personal health and wellness, home-based services, and enrichment classes will be allowed to re-open.

But this is not business as usual — as a business owner, there is a lot you have to take note of the safe management measures as you move towards reopening.

Safe Management #1: Appointing Safe Management Officers to assist in implementation of Safe Management Measures

This person will help to conduct inspections and checks on your premise to prevent any lapse.

Safe Management #2: Employee who can work from home should continue to do so

If your employees don’t need to access systems and equipment that can’t be accessed from home, then they shouldn’t be going to the office.

Safe Management #3: Reduce physical interaction and ensure safe distancing

As much as possible, you should allow your employees to work in split teams, stagger working hours and avoid congregation and socialising amongst colleagues.

Safe Management #4: Support contact tracing

It’s compulsory to use safe entry to record entry of all customers and employees. You can visit to get all the instructions on how to set this up for your business.

Setting this up is not enough, you will also need to have a staff monitoring this to ensure that everyone has a SafeEntry Pass before entering.

Safe Management #5: Wear mask and observe good hygiene

This applies not only to your employees but your customers too.

Safe Management #6: Keep workplace clean

You should frequently clean and disinfect common spaces and equipment. This is especially true for F&B dine-in businesses.

Safe Management #7: Implement health check and protocol to manage potential COVID-19 cases

You should check your employees twice a day for fever or any respiratory illness. Customers should be checked too before they enter your business premise.

Don’t be complacent in this COVID-19 period.

While coronavirus cases have maintained at a low level in Singapore, business owners should not be too complacent, and should continue to adhere to the best practices laid out by our government.

Besides those recommended by the government, some other good practices that can be considered includes:

Asking customers to fix appointments before going down to your store or office. Handle transactions digitally and deliver products to your customers instead of asking them to collect it from your store. If you are getting a loan or wish to inquire loans from us at Empire Global, do use our online quotation or make an appointment with our loan officers.

Together, we can ensure Singapore business’s survival during this Covid-19 pandemic.

Empire Global Vandalised. Sabotage from Illegal Moneylenders

Sabotage from Loanshark. Licensed Moneylenders Vandalised

It’s been a tough couple of months for us, and here at Empire Global we have recently been face with sabotage. Our shop front was defaced recently and we have reported this incident to the authorities. It is an unfortunate issue for us to bear but we are still clear on our rules. It appears that it had been an act on purpose as several other licensed moneylenders were hit overnight, as paint, urine and even faeces were thrown at the shop.

We would like to clear the air as many have asked. We have no connection or any issues with loan sharks or illegal moneylenders.

One of the licensed moneylender owner, had their a client detail pasted on their shop. This could be an act of illegal moneylenders as they could be upset that their business have been affected by us.

Personal Data Privacy

It is important to keep your private data to yourself and this is a case that tells you not to borrow from illegal sources as they can easily expose your private data to the public. Many would not want that to happen as you will never know what happens to your data.

We at Empire Global are still here to service our clients.

New Car Loan Changes in Singapore affects many

Car Loan Changes: How it Affects you

The recent big news on loosening of car loan policies have cause a little “hoo-ha” in the car industry and car watchers. The easing of car loan guidelines by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) caught many by surprise, as strict car loan guidelines were only implemented just three years ago.

New Car Loan Changes in 2016

MAS  mentioned that the adjustments is based on the sustained moderation in certificate of entitlement (COE) premiums and in the resulting inflationary pressures over the last three years. The revised rules allow higher borrowing limits, and longer loan tenures.

Car buyers can now take a bigger loan. Rules have been relaxed to allow buyers to borrow up to 70 per cent of the car price and pay it back over a maximum of seven years, instead of five.

This applies to cars with an open market value (OMV) of up to $20,000. Previously, the maximum loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of such cars was just 60 per cent.

For vehicles with an OMV above $20,000, the LTV is now 60 per cent, up 10 per cent from previous 50 per cent. The maximum loan tenure will also be seven years, also up from five years.

MAS’s deputy managing director Ong Chong Tee said: “In 2013, when we introduced the measures, our immediate aim was to help restrain escalating COE premiums and consequent inflationary pressures.

“Since then, demand conditions have moderated and it is timely to ease the measures.”

The MAS will continue to have the LTV and loan tenure framework in place in the long run, this is done to promote financial prudence and to support the promotion of a “car-lite” society.

Many from the industry called it as “good news”.

Alvyn Ang, Cycle & Carriage’s director of multi-franchise operations, said: “It is definitely good news for the industry because it will help a lot. It should push those buyers still sitting on the fence for whatever reason.”

Mr Ang, who is in charge of the Mitsubishi, Kia and Citroen brands, hailed this as “the best time to come in” to the showroom, especially since passenger car COE premiums have fallen by up about S$30,000 in the last three years.

He added: “We expect the cuts to generate a lot of interest in the market.”

The new measures have boosted affordability for many car watchers.

Revised Car Loan Ruling

The revised financing restrictions will apply to non-MAS regulated entities that extend motor vehicle financing on a hire-purchase basis and licensed moneylenders. This is of course a welcome move by licensed financing companies as it could help them in attracting more borrowers.

COE prices

COE prices have caused a havoc in the car industry. It had spiked to a big high of $92,100 for small cars and $96,210 for big cars which led to debate in the Singapore government on how to control COE prices to keep inflation and Singaporeans in check. Car Loan Cooling measures were introduced to cool down the demand and COE prices.

COE prices have since stabilised from April last year, decreasing steadily until premiums for small cars were below $50,000 for the first time in four years.

However, many experts are also sceptical of the new move which could lead to an immediate increase in demand for cars due to the current economy. The demand of new cars could have been caused by (private-hire firms like) Uber, which could have been causing the COE prices to be held up.

The new car loan changes will definitely affect many especially those in the lower income bracket or young families. The new car loan measures will allow them to pay lesser each month which increasing the affordability of having a car.

Summary: Is it worth to get a Car?

Yes! But only if you had been planning to get one before the announcement. This is because you had the financial and mental preparations for a higher downpayment and higher monthly repayment. With the new measures, one would have better budgeting options.

No, if you hadn’t been planning to get a car. Many experts believe that the revised measures were there for a reason. Most importantly, the loan restrictions were there to enforce Singaporeans to be sure that they can repay their loans.

However even with the new cooling measures, car buyers may need personal loans. In simpler sense: getting a personal loan fro the down-payment, and then apply for the car loan. This is tricky as car loans have a Debt Servicing Ration (DSR) of about 30%.

That means the loan repayment, plus the repayment of any other loans, can’t exceed 30% of your income. If you are getting a personal loan that’s too big, your DSR will shoot up and you won’t qualify for the new car loan.

Open Market Value (OMV) less than or equal to $20,000
  • Maximum LTV: 60 per cent
  • Maximum loan tenure: 5 years
OMV more than $20,000
  • Maximum LTV: 50 per cent
  • Maximum loan tenure: 5 years
OMV less than or equal to $20,000
  • Maximum LTV: 70 per cent
  • Maximum loan tenure: 7 years
OMV more than $20,000
  • Maximum LTV: 60 per cent
  • Maximum loan tenure: 7 years
Licensed Money Lenders Review in Singapore. Learn why it is important to compare!

Money Lenders Reviews Singapore: Why it is Important

Licensed money lenders can be helpful and useful at times, especially to borrowers who are in urgent need of cash due to emergencies that occur. There are also times when borrowers could not meet the banks terms and are not legible for bank loans. This is one of the reason some turn to licensed moneylenders.

In Singapore, there’s a long list of companies and directories that contains a listing of money lenders in singapore offering quick loans. Further which, they will offer money lenders reviews Singapore. For consumers, this can be confusing and overwhelming to read. So which moneylender should you trust? You might be worrying whether you will get “cheated” by the many terms and conditions that money lenders lay out.

A simple search could give you a range of results with each money lender promoting their own or some finance directories providing a list of money lenders reviews Singapore. So get smart about searching a money lender.

Do Proper Research on Money Lenders Reviews Singapore

Start with money lender review sites as they serve a good platform for borrowers to learn from others. Learn from other borrowers that share their experiences with the various money lenders in Singapore. Also if you have benefited it yourself, let others know through money lender reviews.

Importance of Money lenders License 

Other than checking money lender reviews Singapore, it is utmost important to evaluate the money lender based on their license.

Firstly, find out the license of the money lender you want to approach. Check the license number with the registrar of money lenders in Singapore. If they do not have a valid license, do find another licensed money lender. The registry updates the list monthly, hence do check the list for valid licenses.

In Singapore, licensed money lenders in Singapore go through a strict license process. Any licensed money lender found flouting rules will be penalised heavily. Hence the creditability of a licensed money lender weighs heavily on it’s ability to have a license. Companies cannot operate as money lenders without a proper license.

When in doubt, ask the licensed money lender for their actual license. Ensure that the license number and exact name matches the registration certificate the lender shows you.

Read the Terms

Besides checking money lender reviews in Singapore, when you are about to borrow from your preferred money lender, it is best to read the terms laid out.

Licensed money lenders have to state the terms properly and explain to borrowers any terms relating to the loan to their customers.

Compare Money Lenders Reviews. Evaluate & Decide

With money lenders reviews easily available, one should compare between them and check against the actual website of the licensed money lender. Besides checking, do proper research by asking for interest rate quotation. Also, check for any payment penalties such as repayment penalties, late payment penalties. Ask directly with the loan officers either through the phone or Internet.

Compare the terms offered by the loan officers against the ones written on their website. Look through the various money lenders reviews in Singapore to get a better and more accurate assessment of the services they offer.

Confirm with the loan officers on the interest rates offered against the ones mentioned by the Singapore government. The interest rates have now changed to 4% monthly interest rate cap with a governing board the Moneylenders Credit Bureau. The bureau was setup to ensure better administration of the licensed money lenders in Singapore.

With these, one should check for licensed money lenders reviews Singapore, licenses of money lenders and confirming loan details with the loan officers.

General Elections Singapore 2015. Money Matters & How it Affects You.

General Elections & Money Matters. How it Affects You!

General Elections 2015 begins! It’s time to cast your votes! This time to your political party in Singapore. The General Elections of 2015 are just around the corner and it has caused quite a sensational stir here in Singapore. With the added usage of social media and the gen-y kids with their first foray into the voting cycle, it’s no wonder every news platform is publishing about the general elections.

Well, here at Empire Global we are under the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC. Which is the political fight between the incumbents PAP versus the SPP-DPP joint party. It will be an exciting fight as strong leaders of the PAP have stepped down to make way for new leaders. Of course, we will not tell you which party we are voting for (voting is secret).

General Elections 2015 & Money

Money has always been on every Singaporeans minds especially in regards to housing loans, loans and CPF. Debates have been launched on such topics and it will always be the talk of the town. This is important as the  cost of living in Singapore is set to rise, the thought of having to work till old end is certainly scaring the younger generation to build families.

It has been significant in our population numbers as the number of new births are on the decline. Even with subsidies and incentives setup for families, Singaporeans at large are still on a worrying mindset of money and trying to keep up with their loans.

And yet the cost of living is one of the most complained issue during the general elections. Furthermore, the widening income gap has made the situation worse. Some of our customers mentioned about the cost of living in Singapore and how it had affected them when they come to our loan officers.

“It’s not just about people paying more. The deeper unhappiness is the sense that economic growth and wealth have not been suitably shared.” – SMU law don Eugene Tan.

This has probably got people to pay more attention to what the different political parties have to say on the different heartland issues in Singapore during the general elections campaign. It is clearly evident this time round as crowds had turned up during the Worker’s Party first campaign.

Huge Crowds at Worker's Party first election rally at Hougang GE 2015.

Huge Crowds at Worker’s Party first election rally at Hougang GE 2015.

Government Policies & General Elections

Like you, we are concerned about business. In terms of employment as an employer, we do have issues in hiring and maintaining our staff at times. We also look towards the different policies that the government intends to implement. Such as the much talked about 4% interest rate on money lending. That has caused quite a stir within our moneylending industry. Even at Empire Global, we have to make a couple of changes in terms of our business. We of course want what is best for our borrower clients.

The debates on foreign talent (FT) is especially obvious. Furious locals are banking on new policies to change the numbers of such foreign talent that seems to be snapping up their jobs. We as employers are more concerned with employing reliable and good people.

It indeed is a complicated case that remains set to be unresolved totally. Read more on a debate that about general elections whether it is able to cause investors to flee if the ruling party loses more than half the votes.

Well what about you? Who’s your favourite political party?

P.S: We have no affiliation with any political party. Just a voice.

Interest rate capped at 4% and many new regulations affecting moneylending industry in Singapore

Moneylending: Interest Capped at 4% per cent Monthly

The government has accepted new proposals on licensed moneylending, together with one of the biggest change amid protests which is the 4% interest rate cap per month.

The Government has accepted most of the recommendations put forth by an advisory committee and these changes will be implemented progressively starting from July this year (2015). And yes this news has caused quite a stir in the moneylending industry but we at Empire Global are well prepared for these changes.

With twelve of the 15 recommendations from the committee being accepted, the new changes has created some news amongst moneylenders. Two of the recommendations – to lift to lift the moratorium on the granting of new licenses and to regulate debt collection behaviour will be reviewed in time as the moneylending industry adapts to the new regulatory changes.

4 Per Cent Interest Rate Cap: How does it affect everyone?

In order to protect borrowers, the new ruling will place caps on interest rates. As of current rules, there is no cap on interest or late interest rates for borrowers earning more than S$30,000 annually. Some licensed moneylenders charge additional fees (e.g when GIRO repayments fail or dishonoured cheques are issued).

There is currently no restrictions on the total borrowing costs for moneylending loans.

With the new measures kicking in, licensed moneylenders will be restricted to maximum rates. This include the new ruling that they cannot charge interest of more than 4 per cent per month plus this has to be on a reducing balance basis. Should a borrower be late in his repayments, licensed moneylenders can then charge a late interest, however this interest must not exceed more than 4 per cent.

The limit extends to charges on late payments: A similar maximum interest rate of 4 per cent a month, while late fees will not exceed S$60 a month.

Going forward, the total borrowing cost will be capped at 100 per cent of the original loan to keep debts from spiralling. Additional fees for, say, early loan redemption or unsuccessful GIRO deductions will not be allowed.

Furthermore, the total borrowing costs will not exceed 100 per cent of the principal loan sum which will prevent debts from getting out of control.

New Moneylending Regulations affecting Moneylenders?

Chairman of the Advisory Committee Manu Bhaskaran said data has been carefully studied to ensure that the industry remains commercially viable, even with the new caps.

“We completely accept that there will always be a class of distressed borrowers who will not be able to secure loans that they need urgently, from banks and other financial institutions,” he said. “So there is a role for a moneylending industry. And once you accept that, you must accept that you should allow them to have a decent return, taking into account the risk that they face, which is much higher.”

Although with the 4 per cent ruling, moneylenders will be allowed to charge an administrative fee up front, capped at 10 per cent of the original loan amount, for legitimate costs such as securing credit reports.

With regard to borrowers earning more than S$20,000 annually, the new rules will cap their loans at six times their salary from all licensed moneylenders. Such borrowers can currently take a loan of up to four times their monthly salary from each moneylender.

What’s Not Including in the Recommendations?

The government did not accept a recommendation that moneylenders be allowed to advertise in newspapers using strict templates, taking the view that advertising could lead to increased borrowing.

Moving Forward

Stiffer Rules on moneylending to be rolled out

Stiffer Rules on moneylending to be rolled out. Photo credit: Straits Times

A new Moneylenders Credit Bureau will also provide a centralised, comprehensive database of borrowers who use licensed moneylending services.

“We set up this committee to come up with recommendations that would help protect the consumer, the borrower. But at the same time, if you kill off the moneylending industry, then the people who need to borrow won’t get access,” Mr K Shanmugan, Minister for Law and Foreign Affairs said. He further mentioned that the new recommendations are centred on how best to balance both.

The 4% interest rate caps would be the first of a list of proposals recommended by the committee to be rolled out within a month by the Law Ministry.

Mr Manu Bhaskaran, director of Centennial Group International and chairman of the committee said, that the committee has decided to accept the moneylenders’ recommendations to help them cover their administration costs incurred in giving out the loans and late payments from borrowers.

More References: TODAY reports on moneylending interest rate cap

Unsecured Credit Limit New Changes in Singapore by MAS

Unsecured Credit Debt New Limits in Singapore: Find out Now

Singapore: Applied lots of credit card recently? Ever had friends who are debt-ridden by their credit cards? The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will phase in tighter limits on credit card debt and other unsecured credit facilities over four years to allow more time for borrowers to cut their debt.

This was a drastic change instead of the originally imposed idea (20 months ago) of implementing the limit at once this June. The new credit limit change offers a big lifeline to consumers who have overextended.

Unsecured Credit Limit in Numbers in Singapore

Unsecured credit is borrowing that is not backed by collateral. The borrowing limit limit applies only to interest bearing balances incurred on unsecured credit facilities such as credit cards and unsecured personal loans.

These unsecured credit limits are not applicable to loans for medical, educational or business purposes. Borrowers with annual income of S$120,000 or more, or people with net personal assets exceeding S$2 million will not be subjected with the new borrowing limits. Over-extended borrowers in Singapore total 84,000 who owe S$7.5 billion(source MAS).

What does Unsecured Credit Changes

With MAS recent annoucenment, the new limit caps on a person’s total amount of credit card and other unsecured debt will be slowly implemented in phases:

— June 1 2015, the unsecured debt limit will be 24 times the monthly income

— June 1 2017, the unsecured debt limit will be 18 times the monthly income

— June 1 2019, the unsecured debt limit will tightened further to 12 times the monthly income

How does new unsecured credit limit affect me

How does new unsecured credit limit affect me

This new time measures allow borrowers up to June 2019 to make the transition to adjust to the new credit limits. The increased time given were brought about following feedback from the public and the advice of the Association of Banks in Singapore, and Credit Counselling Singapore.

Although most unsecured borrowers in Singapore borrow within their limits, but a small portion still have significant unsecured debts.

How does new Credit Limit Affect You?

Financial institution (FIs) are no longer allowed to granted further unsecured credit to an individual whose unsecured borrowing exceed the limits. So if an individual exceeds their limit, they will not be allowed to apply for new credit cards.
Banks in Singapore are supportive of the new move as this allows more time for borrowers to repay their debts. This allowed banks more time for compliance with the new law. Unsecured Credit provides good margins for banks as interest rates goes up to 24 per cent per annum.

What if I Exceed my Unsecured Credit Limit of 12X

There is a help centre whereby one can seek help from the Repayment Assistance Scheme (RAS), a centralised debt repayment solution by Credit Counselling Singapore in partnership with the banking industry.

Under RAS, debt amount if is in excess of the credit limits of 12x / 18x /24x of your monthly income will be subjected to a lower interest rate of 5% per annum. This amount can be paid in a span of 8years and will certainly help to reduce debt burden. This allows highly indebted borrowers to have a assistance scheme. Borrowers who are eligible for the scheme will get letters from their financial institutions with information on their outstanding credit debt. Learn more about RAS and how it works 

How can RAS help me with my unsecured credit  debt and repayments

How can RAS help me with my unsecured credit debt and repayments

Licensed Money Lender faces criticism in Singapore. A new set of woes to worry about.

Licensed Money Lender Facing Criticism in Singapore

The licensed money lender industry in Singapore has gotten its run of bad publicity for 2015 given the recent events occurred amongst debt collection. Debates have been brought up on how debt collection can be made better.

Licensed Money Lender Scene

This was due to a recent scene in the licensed money lender industry in Singapore when seven employees of Double Ace Associates confronted a stall owner at Funan DigitalLife Mall foodcourt and created a big scene during the busy lunch hour. All offenders were charged with unlawful assembly just last month.

Debt Collectors in Singapore creating a fuss at Funan Digital Mall Singapore

Debt Collectors in Singapore creating a fuss & harrassment at Funan Digital Mall Singapore

Licensing Debt Collection in Singapore

Debt collection in Singapore. Hired by licensed money lender.

Debt collection in Singapore. Hired by licensed money lender.

Licensed money lender hire debt-collection companies from time to time for long standing debts that they cannot handle and this incident highlighted on how a loan can go horribly wrong.

“Licensing the debt-collection industry could clean up its image, and clamp down on the use of harassment tactics” – suggested by Mr David Poh, President of the Moneylender’s Association of Singapore, has been backed by the Credit Collection Association of Singapore (CCAS).

This matter of debt collection has been raised in Parliament last month when MP Foo Mee Har mentioned whether debt collectors should abide by a code of conduct, and if the Government of Singapore would consider introducing laws that govern fair deb-collection.

Others have mentioned that should such a code of conduct be in place, there will be a lot of infrastructure that needs to be put up for case investigation. Hence the onus should be on the licensed money lender, to ensure their debt collectors do not use violence or high pressure tactics.

“Moneylenders found to have committed offences may have their licences suspended, not renewed or revoked by the registry,” Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah

Late Fee Charges by Licensed Money Lender

Late Fee charges by Licensed Money Lender

Late Fee charges by Licensed Money Lender

Late last year, an article about how a borrower got a small loan and incurred a large debt due to the late fee charges.

Suggestions have been made to cap the penalty late charges. However this has led to many licensed money lenders protesting that the new rules could kill their business.

This is why at Empire Global we always encourage borrowers to negotiate early and fully understand the terms involved. Terms from different licensed money lender vary greatly. All these could lead up to you getting into greater debt.

Licensed Money Lender Woes & The Review Committee

With the advisory committee proposing major changes of which a controversial interest rate cap of 4 percent per month has led to an outburst in the licensed moneylending industry.

Many licensed money lender in Singapore have mentioned that the cap will lead to borrowers not paying back instead. Without late penalty charges, it will be tougher to collect back their money.

Borrowers have a higher chance to default on their payments. Leading to lower profit margins by the money lenders.

The advisory committee basis on the proposed interest rates is also referred to prevailing interest rates charged by licensed moneylenders in jurisdictions like Hong Kong, Australia, Japan and Britain, which range from 1.5 to 4 per cent.

We at Empire Global are looking at ways to improve our infrastructure and to work with the interest rate cap. Hopefully, the Ministry of Law considerations on relaxing advertising restrictions on newspapers will be implemented.

Most definitely, we want to be geared up to in advance to follow through the new rules imposed.
Interest Rates Take a Hike with rising Sibor in Singapore. Look at how it will affect you.

Interest Rate Spikes & Latest in Moneylenders News

Money, money and more money! The recent news about the US interest rates hikes has hit our shores in Singapore and the news is not entirely encouraging.

The three-month Sibor, which is used to price most loans and mortgages here, has been inching its way upwards due to interest rate hike in the United States and a weakening Singapore dollar versus the greenback. The recent announcements by MAS to reduce the Singapore dollar from appreciating aims to keep the Sibor elevated.

The Sibor is fixed daily by the Association of Banks in Singapore based on quotes from banks on what they expect to pay for interbank loans that day. In short, it is affected by liquidity in the banking sector.

“The reduction of the appreciation slope could keep pressure on the US and Singapore dollar exchange rate and thus could ensure Sibor remains at current levels … This move by MAS helps keep Singapore policy on a stable footing, and we expect it to be modestly beneficial for Singapore bank earnings,” analysts from Morgan Stanley said in a research note.

Interest Rate Hike: What does it mean for You?

Many housing loans offered by banks are tied to three-month Sibor. Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC), for example, has 3 types of home loans and one that is currently offering home loans at three-month Sibor plus 0.85 percentage points for the first three years, according to its website. Lending rates are reviewed every three months. As the Sibor is set to increase, so will the interest rate rise. Home owners will eventually face higher mortgage payments.

“We had expected the bullish move in the SOR and Sibor since last year,” says UOB economist Francis Tan (source)

Analysts are looking at further upside to about 1 to 1.2 per cent at the end of the year. Effectively leading to an interest rate of about over 2% for home loans.

Let us assume an outstanding housing loan of S$500,000 and 20 years remaining. With the current interest rate of 1.5 per cent, this works out to a monthly payment of about S$2,410.

If the interest rate is increased to 2 per cent, the monthly payment would rise to around S$2,530. Should the rate rise to 3 per cent, the monthly payment would be S$2,770.

What to Do Next with Higher Interest Rate?

Higher interest rates charged by banks affect your loans directly. Thus you will see your loans, home mortgage loans, renovation loans slowly inching its way up.

Hence start reviewing your loans! For example, review your home loan packages every two to three years. Look at the trends Conventional wisdom has it that you should review your loan package every two to three years, or before the promotional period ends and your bank raises its premium on the interest you pay, which increases your monthly instalments.

In short, think long term and look around for good deals. Always negotiate with the bank on refinancing options.

Latest in Moneylending Industry Singapore

DPM Teo added that the improved situation was due to the tough laws enacted, strong enforcement efforts against loan-shark syndicates and the high level of community support in the fight against unlicensed moneylending activities.

According to DPM Teo, about 1,900 people were arrested for unlicensed moneylending and related harassment offences on average yearly between 2011 and 2014, while about 2,600 were convicted in court for these offences.

Debt Collectors in Singapore creating a fuss & harrassment at Funan Digital Mall Singapore

Debt Collectors in Singapore creating a fuss & harrassment at Funan Digital Mall Singapore

Seen the recent hype about public harassment during working hours? Debt collectors created a ruckus at Funan Mall over unpaid debts. Moreover, this was during working hours infront of the public eye.

With clamping down on unlicensed activities and harassment cases, this is looking good for us licensed moneylenders at Empire Global. The image of licensed lenders is changing for the better as tougher laws are weeding out bad lenders. Thankfully, the ruly debt collectors have been arrested for unlawful assembly.


Personal Data Protection Act : How it affects you. Take action Today!

PDPA Personal Data Protection Act Singapore Affects You

What’s is the big fuzz about PDPA?

With a rising spate of complaints over telemarketers “harassing” people with the phone calls or text messages, the Government of Singapore has further looked into the matter and emphasised heavily on personal protection with the introduction of the PDPA policy. This is designed to safeguard an individual’s personal data against misuse. It comprises of the recently introduced national Do-Not-Call registry and a new enforcement agency that is tasked to regulate the management of personal data by businesses and impose penalties.

Personal Data defined

Personal Data Protection Act PDPA

Personal Data Protection Act PDPA. Be aware of your rights!

Personal data refers to data regardless of truth, about an individual who can be identified from the data. Unique information (e.g. NRIC number, passport number) as well as other relevant information (address, age, name,telephone number) about the individual. The act allows individuals more control over their personal data, since prior consent has to be given and they would need to be informed of the purpose of information collected.

PDPA is implemented in phrases to allow businesses to accommodate their processes to it. The introduction of the Do Not Call (DNC) Registry started in 2 Jan 2014 and was followed up with the personal data protection on 2 July 2014. You might have noticed in the news that companies are being fined or penalised with regards to the DNC or PDPA rulings. Well, we at Empire Global had complied way much earlier than those dates.

Personal Data Protection Act: The Whole Idea

1. Tackle Issue of Unsolicited Telemarketing Calls & Messages

The national Do-Not-Call (DNC) Registry created early 2014, prohibits organisations in Singapore to send specified messages to any Singapore number registered with the DNC, unless prior consent was given. If any company is caught violating the data protection rule or are non-compliant, they would be fine heavily.

2. Enhance Country Competitiveness

With the introduction of the PDPA, the new data protection law is poised to strength the nation’s position as a trusted business hub. You would not want companies “harassing” you right? Which is why Empire Global focuses primarily on financial education instead of hard-selling you.

3. Data Protection Commission (DPC)

The DPC team has the power to initiate investigations and/or conduct enquires on companies. They are able to direct non-complying companies to be fined up to SGD$1million.

4. National Do Not Call Registry

With the newly setup registry, individuals can now opt-out of receiving marketing messages in form of phone calls, short message service (SMS) messages, multimedia message service (MMS) messages or fax messages. It is now an offence for organisations to send messages registered under the “Do Not Call Registry”. Such offences are punishable by a maximum fine of SGD$10,000.

Read more about Do-Not-Call DNC Registry: Are you on DNC yet?

Lodge complaints About a DNC Offence

In short, What’s in it for you?

As a consumer you are protected by the PDPA. PDPA prohibits organisations from collecting, using or disclosing personal data about an individual unless prior consent is given for such collection or disclosure was made. Organisations can only collect information for reasonable purposes.

The moneylending industry is extremely competitive.  The introduction of PDPA and the DNC registry, we have seen some known moneylenders getting hefty fines or licenses revoked. The practise of getting and tempting customers through phone calls and messages have went down a lot, marketers of such lending schemes are desperately finding new ways to find new customers.

So if you are borrowing in future, do be careful of unknown messages that come to you promising low interest rates or quick schemes. Always always, read before you sign anything. That’s rule no.1 for us at Empire Global.

Main Data Protection Obligations of the PDPA

  • Notification – Individual must be notified about collection, usage and disclosure of personal data.
  • Consent – Consent of individual is important to collect, use or disclose their personal data
  • Retention Limitation – Requires organisation to remove all personal data when the campaign has ended officially.
  • Openness – Organisation must be transparent with the information about your data protection polices, practices and complaint process available on request.
  • Purpose Limitation – This restrict the individual data to be used for a particular product or services that is agreed upon.
  • Transfer Limitation – Personal data is transferrable to another country only if the requirement prescribed is under the regulation.
  • Access & Correction Accuracy – This allows individual to access and edit all information which their personal data is used.
  • Accuracy – Personal data must be validated before proceeding with any campaigns.
  • Protection – Protection of personal data must be done by having security arrangement within organisation and external parties that will be handling your data.

More reading sources

Register with DNC –
For more information about the Act, visit the Personal Data Protection Commission website.