Wed, Jan 12, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Deadline for Lunar New Year loans looms, council says

By Shelley Huang  /  Staff Reporter

More than 33,000 labor insurance loan applications for people in financial difficulty have been approved, the Council of Labor Affairs said yesterday, while urging those who intended to apply for a loan to do so this week.

Every year, the council offers low-interest loans of as much as NT$100,000 (US$3,430) to help low-income workers who subscribe to the National Labor Insurance Program get through the Lunar New Year holiday.

The special loan has been offered for eight years.

As of Monday, more than 74,000 applications for the low-interest loans were filed, with 17,000 applicants using the online registration system, the Bureau of Labor Insurance said.

With the economy picking up, the number of applications had dropped about 20 percent compared with the same period last year, the bureau said.

In 2009, 192,000 applications for the loan were approved, which dropped to 145,000 last year, council statistics showed.

Council officials said they were optimistic about the situation this Lunar New Year and expected that by the deadline, the total number of applicants would reach about 70 to 80 percent of last year’s total.

Council officials encouraged people to complete the application process at Land Bank of Taiwan branches before Friday, adding that the approved applicants had already received their loans.

The earlier applications are filed, the earlier payments can be approved. Any late applications will be turned down, the council said.

Applicants who have participated in the National Labor Insurance Program for at least 15 years and have no unpaid debt to the program, can apply for a loan of up to NT$100,000, which has to be paid back within three years at an annual interest rate of 1.41 percent.

The council has set aside NT$20 billion for the loan program this year, which could allow for as many as 200,000 individuals to benefit from a loan.

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