x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Bankers caution on credit trap

Even members of a Filipino bankers' group have become mired deep in credit card debt.

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DUBAI // This is how dangerous the credit trap can be: even members of a Filipino bankers' group have become mired deep in credit card debt. That illustrates not only the extent of the problem among Filipinos here, but also that it can get the better of even those with financial know-how, said Nelson Labung, the new president of the UAE Pinoy Bankers Organisation, which is made up of 320 Filipinos who work in 14 banks.

He plans to hold a series of seminars advising Filipinos how to use credit cards wisely. "Before the recession the banks were lax. One could have 10 to 12 cards each with a credit limit of Dh15,000 or more." Filipinos rank behind Indians and Pakistanis as the top three nationalities of people who fled the country and absconded from debts, according to the "Skip Report" released by Orion Analytics, a financial data analysis firm.

It showed that 30 per cent of expatriates who left the country because of debt in 2004 owed money on credit cards, a figure that rose to 66 per cent by the third quarter of last year. "None of our members had been in prison for debt," he said. "But I know of one or two members who found themselves deep in debt. We tried to bail them out by helping them restructure their debts." rruiz@thenational.ae