18 Oct 2010

Backing for bill in Samoa to control rates charged by non-bank money lenders

6:07 am on 18 October 2010

Opposition MPs in Samoa have welcomed a government bill which gives the Central Bank control over interest rates and fees charged by non-bank money lenders.

The Central Bank of Samoa Amendment Bill 2010 was tabled by the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi.

Leading Opposition MP Palusalue Fa'apo II says the rates charged by financial institutions set up to help people, such as the Housing Corporation and the Development Bank ,are high.

Palusalue says non-bank lenders charge rates as high as 30 percent and service fees are also high.

Tuilaepa says non-bank financial institutions like money transfer operators, insurance companies and many small money lenders, now play an important role in the financial system.

The bill allows Central Bank to intervene when it considers that interest rates, fees and charges of financial services of a particular institution are inappropriately excessive relative to market rates.