Thu, Jan 15, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Banks agree to lower interest on revolving credit

LENDING The Banking Bureau said several banks had agreed to come up with a proposal on cutting rates, some of which run as high as 20 percent now

By Kevin Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Several banks have agreed to lower the interesting rate on revolving credit in the wake of a call by the Financial Supervisory Commission for banks to follow suit after the series of benchmark rate cuts by the central bank in recent months.

The commission’s Banking Bureau talked to several bank representatives yesterday to discuss the possibility of trimming revolving interest rates, the commission said in a statement issued late last night.

Following the discussion, the representatives of the banks, which account for about 77 percent of the credit card loan market in the country, agreed to come up with a rate cut proposal by Monday, Banking Bureau Deputy Director-General Hsiao Chang-jui (蕭長瑞) told reporters yesterday.

Hsiao said the bureau would review the proposal sometime next week.

Hopefully, consumers would be able to enjoy lower revolving credit interest rates soon, he added, without giving a timeframe.

Card users who pay their bills regularly and who have not violated any credit rule are likely to enjoy lower revolving rates, the commission said in the statement.

The commission’s remark came in the wake of a report by the Chinese-language United Evening News earlier yesterday about the meeting between the bureau and the bank representatives, citing the bureau’s director-general, Chang Ming-daw (張明道).

Local credit card issuers currently charge consumers a revolving interest rate of 14 percent on average. However, the rate could climb as high as 20 percent per annum at certain banks, according to the commission’s tallies.

Five banks with the highest revolving interest rates have agreed to adjust their rates soon, namely Citibank Taiwan Ltd (台灣花旗), Chinatrust Commercial Bank (中國信託銀行), E. Sun Commercial Bank (玉山銀行), Cathay United Bank (國泰世華銀行) and ABN AMRO Bank, Hsiao said.

He said he did not know by how much the banks were planning to cut.

As of the end of November, the outstanding amount of revolving credit totaled NT$258 billion, down 2.6 percent from October, the commission’s data showed.

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