Sun, Jun 03, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Debtors take to streets to put pressure on legislature

STALLED LAW The Judiciary Committee finished its first review of a proposed bill designed to clear people's debts in April last year, but after 14 months it remains pending

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Credit card debtors gather in Taipei yesterday to urge the legislature to introduce a law that will allow debtors to negotiate better payment terms with their banks.


More than 100 credit card abusers took to the streets in Taipei yesterday, yelling "Let me survive," in the hope that the legislature would speed up its review of a bill designed to help out credit card debtors.

A number of them wrapped themselves in chains to highlight their cause.

"The main theme of our rally is to ask for a second chance for these credit abusers so they can survive and pay off their debts," said Lin Feng-jeng (林峰正), director-general of the Judicial Reform Foundation who also coupled as the convener of yesterday's rally.

"They [credit abusers] are asking for a chance to pay off debts, not a chance to run away from their debts," he said.

Lin said the legislature's Judiciary Committee had finished its first review of the proposed bill designed to clear debtors' debts last April. Since then 14 months have passed and the proposal is still pending, he said.

The bill is scheduled to be reviewed again on Tuesday. By staging the rally, Lin said they hoped to exert pressure on the Judiciary Committee.

"This bill regulates a lot of compensation rules between banks and credit abusers so that credit abusers have a chance to pay off their debts, albeit slowly," Lin said.

For credit abusers who are also paying mortgages, the bill would allow them to temporarily prolong their mortgage period while they pay off their credit card debts first, and since most mortgage contracts are signed under the endorsement of a co-signer it provides a safety net for banks, Lin said.

"That way, credit card abusers will not lose their residence or job and they will be able to clear their debts," he said.

Chinatrust Commercial Bank (中國信託銀行) chairman Charles Lo (羅聯福) said late last month, that of the approximately 220,000 credit abusers, 70 percent of them are not able to pay off their debts.

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