Tue, Jan 16, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Lawmakers ignore mooted amendment to the Banking Law

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

An amendment to the Banking Act (銀行法) went undiscussed yesterday after the legislature halted cross-party negotiations because of a disagreement over a separate bill.

The proposed amendment to the Banking Law, if passed, would empower banks to disclose the identity of bad debtors who owe more than NT$30 million (US$915,912) or who have failed to make repayments on a loan between NT$10 million and NT$30 million for a whole year.

Negotiations will resume today, but whether the different party caucuses are able to agree on how big a bad debt needs to be before disclosure becomes a possibility remains to be seen.

Earlier yesterday, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators and more than one hundred people staged a demonstration in front of the legislature.

Protesters held up posters which said "People have the right to know [who bad debtors are]" and "People are angry because they are suffering as a result of [bad debtors'] embezzlement."

Led by DPP Legislator Lin Chung-mo (林重謨), the crowd shouted "Disclose the names of bad debtors" and "Amend the Banking Law immediately."

Lin, who proposed the amendment, told the media that the law conceals debtors' identities, thereby preventing the government from identifying debtors who might be likely to default.

Lin urged opposition legislators to approve the amendment during today's legislative session, adding that they could negotiate over the threshold for disclosure.

"But it would be unacceptable if [opposition legislators] want to raise the threshold to NT$100 million as proposed by Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] caucus whip Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆)," he said.

DPP Legislator Huang Chien-hui (黃劍輝), who also participated in the demonstration, said that as of last January there were 633 bad debtors who together owed more than NT$200 billion.

"Those legislators who do not support the amendment must be [bad debtors] themselves," Huang said.

also see story:

Lawmakers say billions in debt written off

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