THE value of pico-finance loans stood at Bt218.97 million at the end of 2017, with the finance extended as part of the government’s efforts to tackle underground debt in communities, the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) said.
The non-performing loan (NPL) ratio stood at 2.04 per cent of total outstanding pico-finance loans at the end of last year, the agency said.
Pornchai Thiraveja, deputy director-general at FPO and finance spokesman, said that total accumulative pico-finance loans have been provided to 8,561 accounts, at Bt25,577.85 per account.
Pico-finance is similar to the better-known microfinance system but provides smaller loans needed primarily by households and individuals and is among the government initiatives to address the country's underground debt problems.
Of the total accumulative pico-finance loans, 62.18 per cent – or Bt136.16 million provided to 4,348 accounts – has been collateralised, while 37.82 per cent - or Bt82.81 million approved for 4,213 accounts, has been non-collateralised.
Pico-finance loans with maturity due in less than three months accounted for Bt4.93 million, or 6.69 per cent, of the total outstanding pico-finance loans. NPLs stood at Bt1.50 million, or 2.04 per cent.
From December 2016 to the end of last month, 441 juristic persons in 66 provinces applied for pico-finance licences.
Nakhon Ratchasima topped the list with 45 applicants, followed by Bangkok with 34 and Roi Et, 28.
Some 279 operators in 60 provinces have received pico-finance licences. Some 159 pico-finance operators are now are offering services in 49 provinces, while 114 operators have extended pico-finance loans in 45 provinces.
Licensed pico-finance operators are allowed to extend loan worth no more than Bt50,000 to each applicant, with an effective lending rate of no more than 36 per cent per year.
In regard to emergency loans, the Government Savings Bank (GSB) and the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) extended Bt9.92 billion to 223,830 customers from March 2017 to the end of January. Such loans are among the measures deployed to counter the informal debt problems,
Of the total, Bt9.31 billion was lent to 209,857 people of general status and Bt608.09 million went to 13,973 people registered as low-income earners burdened with informal debts.
Those who have informal debt problems can check the list of licensed pico-finance operators at www.1359.go.th or ask for advice at branches of GSB and BAAC nationwide.