Thu, Jun 01, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Bad loan ratio for cash cards rockets to record high

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

The average bad loan ratio for cash cards jumped to a record high in April, according to data released by the Financial Supervisory Commission on Tuesday.

The non-performing loan (NPL) ratio for cash card lending soared to 6.75 percent last month, up 2.35 percentage points from the previous month, the data showed.

The number of cash cards in use dropped by 2.97 percent to 2.94 million in April, while total lending was down by 3.07 percent to NT$259.2 billion over the same period, after a group of cash card issuers, including the largest issuer Taishin International Bank (台新銀行), stopped distributing new cards.

Meanwhile, the bad debt ratio for credit cards edged up to 3.38 percent in April, rising 0.21 percentage points from March, the commission's data showed.

The number of credit cards in circulation shrank to 42.8 million cards, down 2.01 percent, while revolving debt fell to NT$447.3 billion, marking a 2.85 percent decline, according to the figures.

The commission's acting chairman Lu Daung-yen (呂東英) said the significant increase in the bad loan ratio was because banks preferred to attempt to collect payments from debtors through the card debt negotiation mechanism before writing off the overdue loans.

The financial regulator said that the bad debt ratios for both credit and cash cards may have fallen last month, as repayments continued to flood in. The repayment ratio by those who obtained preferential payback terms is expected to increase to 80 percent this month from more than 70 percent last month and 67 percent in April, Lu said.

With bad loans totaling NT$423 billion in April, the average NPL ratio for the nation's 45 local banks edged up 0.08 percentage points to 2.54 percent in April, the commission's data showed.

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