Sri Lanka Credit Counselling Centre said the banks have been aggressive in their recovery action as it was beneficial for the cash flows of banks, considering the high cost of deposits during the present period. These recovery efforts have resulted in the reduction of Non Performing Loans (NPLs) and helped in the banks managing the overdue customer base, Credit Counselling Centre Head Siromi Wickramasinghe told Ceylon FT.
"The credit Counselling Centre can see a favourable trend in the management of credit card overdues this year as compared to the past. This may be due the fact that the marketing of new credit cards are more focused and done with more stringent lending criteria,” she said.
However, at present we are greatly concerned that people from all walks of life are resorting to getting financial assistance from money lenders at exorbitant rates of interest, sometimes even as much as 20% per month to overcome their various commitments. Since there is a ready market for this method and no regulations to monitor such lenders, the money lenders thrive by squeezing every cent earned by these vulnerable people who have no knowledge of the seriousness of this scheme until they get deeply in debt and become helpless, she explained.
“Financial indiscipline comes from lack of knowledge and due to short term and quick decisions. Many who call over do not have opportunities to get any advice before borrowing any form of credit. As such their spending methods are not in line with their income and are easily swayed by external temptations,” Wickramasinghe noted.
“The Credit Counselling Centre has handled more than 5,900 cases, where efforts have been made mainly to reorganize the repayment of the banks’ overdue clients and counsel them to manage their finances better in the future. We at the centre try our best to educate all who come to us, but this matter should be taken up by all civic minded people and have awareness programmes before more people get into this rut,” she added.
She urged the public who had a financial problem with a bank or a financial institute, to call over at the Credit Counselling Centre for advice which is provided free of charge. The Credit Counselling Centre is located at the Centre For Banking Studies, Central Bank of Sri Lanka, 58 Sri Jayawardenapure Mawatha, Rajagiriya. The Centre could be contacted on telephone numbers 011 2887006 or 0112887007.