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Philippine pension fund SSS lends 17% less via loan scheme as fewer retirees borrow

SSS
By Goh Thean Eu   
October 19, 2021

The Philippines' state-owned Social Security System (SSS) approved around 1.92 billion pesos (US$37.76 million) of loans in the eight months through August, down 17% from 2.31 billion pesos in the same period of 2020, because fewer retirees borrowed from its pension loan scheme.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora Ignacio says there were 43,424 retiree borrowers in the first eight months of 2021, 15% less than in all of last year.

"We can attribute the decrease in approved pension loans to the lower number of pensioner-borrowers this year. It is partly due to the restricted mobility for senior citizens brought by the [Covid-19] quarantine protocols. Also, some of them are still repaying their pension loans granted to them last year,” she says in a statement on October 16.

The government introduced the loan programme in 2018 to help pensioners with their financing needs and to prevent them from falling prey to private loan sharks.

Retired SSS members can borrow up to 200,000 pesos each under the scheme, and repay the loans over a period of up to 24 months.

Ignacio says the programme can help retirees to augment their daily expenses, especially during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The SSS, which helps manage the retirement savings of private sector employees, had 602.3 billion pesos of assets as of end-2020.