2020-10-14 09:20

Challenging times for debt recovery agents amid Covid-19 pandemic Who世界播



SINGAPORE - With eight years' experience under her belt, Mrs Lyn Ling thought she had seen everything in the debt collection business. Who世界播


But that was until Sept 17, when she and a colleague found themselves in the harrowing situation of desperately holding on to a female debtor who was trying to jump from a 13th-storey ledge. Who世界播


"We went to her flat to serve her notice and talk to her as she had stopped paying her renovation loan," said Mrs Ling, 35, founder of Fast Debt Recovery Specialist. Who世界播

35岁的凌女士是Fast Debt Recovery Specific的创始人,她说:“我们去她的公寓向她发出通知,并与她交谈,因为她已经停止支付装修贷款。”Who世界播

"Suddenly, she shouted at us, unlocked the gate and rushed towards the ledge outside her unit." Who世界播


Before dashing out of the flat, the woman had said in Mandarin: "I can let you see my two bank accounts, the total is zero. I jump down now for you to see." Who世界播


Mrs Ling's colleague Gary Tan, 39, said: "She may have been small in size but she was strong and struggling violently." Who世界播

令夫人的同事,39岁的Gary Tan说:“她可能身材矮小,但她很强壮,挣扎得很厉害。”Who世界播

As the screaming woman raised one leg onto the railing, Mr Tan pulled her away by the shoulders, while Mrs Ling gripped her legs. Who世界播


For the next few minutes, the pair held on tightly to her. Who世界播


The woman eventually regained her composure and Mrs Ling called the police for help. Who世界播


Mrs Ling said the woman had lost her job and her husband was bankrupt. But the woman's problems were not caused solely by the Covid-19 pandemic. Who世界播


Two of three debt recovery companies The Straits Times spoke to said their business has risen since April, when the two-month circuit breaker to stem the spread of Covid-19 was imposed. Who世界播


Debt recovery agents are hired when debtors go missing or ignore telephone calls by financial institutions. These agents are legally allowed to pursue debtors on behalf of creditors, in contrast with loan sharks. Who世界播


Ms Yvonne Ho, general manager of Singapore Debt Collection Service (SDCS), said the number of cases that the company handles has increased by 30 per cent a month since April. These cases include debtors defaulting on their obligations, such as personal and car loans, and renegotiating to pay smaller instalments. Who世界播

新加坡收债服务公司(SDCS)总经理Yvonne Ho表示,自4月以来,该公司每月处理的案件数量增加了30%。这些案例包括债务人违约,如个人和汽车贷款,以及重新谈判支付较小的分期付款。Who世界播

Likewise, there has been a rise in the number of debtors who refused or were unable to repay loans ranging from $2,000 to $300,000. Who世界播


"We have seen a significant number of people who were retrenched or saw a drop in their incomes due to the Covid-19 outbreak," said Ms Ho, 29. "Some business owners have also been unable to pay rent due to the economic downturn." Who世界播


Before the Covid-19 outbreak, SDCS handled between 50 and 100 cases a month on behalf of car leasing, construction and renovation companies. Recently, the figure has exceeded the monthly average. Who世界播


But JMS Rogers, another debt collection firm, said the number of cases it handles has dropped from about 70 a month to fewer than 10. Who世界播

但另一家收债公司JMS Rogers表示,其处理的案件数量已从每月约70起降至不到10起。Who世界播

Mr Roger Rajan, 49, owner of the firm, attributed the drop to bankrupt companies declining to pursue debtors as they do not wish to incur costs. Who世界播

该公司的所有者、49岁的罗杰·拉詹(Roger Rajan)将下降的原因归因于破产公司不愿追究债务人的责任,因为他们不希望招致成本。Who世界播

Mrs Ling says that while she has a job to do, she strives to help both the client and the debtor. Who世界播


A win-win situation in these challenging times is to recover some payment for the client from the debtor. Who世界播


Mrs Ling said she is able to help a debtor only if he cooperates. Who世界播


"We are concerned about the debtor's financial status and want to know how we can help," she said. Who世界播


"There are options for debtors to apply for government grants and subsidies, and we can advise them on the documents they need." Who世界播


In the case of the female debtor, the woman has been given a deferment up to next January, when she is expected to begin repaying her loan. Who世界播


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