Loan Sharks prey for OFW

Monday, April 26, 2010

Most Filipinos  go abroad for their aspiration and dreams that they could help their parents, give their children a proper education and a better life. And to realized those dreams some borrowed money from the bank with a property collateral and some borrowed money from a money lender just to pay the huge amount of placement fee to go abroad.

When I came to Israel, I owed a huge amount of money from a relative, At first, they took me from the Philippines with an additional 10% from the whole amount of money. As I understood, the 10% was only charge one time.  And that was all, but when I arrived here and got my first monthly salary they asked me to sign an agreement that the money I lent from them was 10% interest monthly. I was so shocked and cried, the fact that almost the whole amount of my salary goes only to the interest I have to pay. I complained however every word that I said wasn't good for them. I didn't have a choice but to pay the amount written in the agreement. I worked, cried and blamed my parents why they wanted me to come here. Almost three years of sacrificing I managed to finish my placement fee.

There are a lot of stories like me here in Israel. Some of them are threatened for deportation. And there are moneylenders also approach employers, who know nothing about their workers black market loans, is one means of pressuring debtors, that's the reason why there are workers release form their jobs. However, some of them helped their worker to pay the money they owed so that they can get out from that stupid interest.

I heard a story from a friend, a girl need to send money home because her father died. Because she didn't have a sufficient funds, she borrowed money from a money lender with an interest of 10% monthly. It's time to pay back the interest and capital and she failed to give the said amount. The money lender, told her to borrow another amount of money to cover the amount she failed to pay. One loan led to another. That 10% became 20% until it became 75%. This poor girl has a salary only of 800$ monthly and owed more than she earned How can she pay it back?

The law in Israel allows non-bank lenders to charge up to 2.25 times the Bank of Israel interest rate for loans up to 1 million NIS. The maximum allowable rates per year is only 15.5 percent. Because workers here, cannot loaned money straight to the Bank her so they are force to approach money lenders who take advantage the rate of interest they charge per client.

If you will be in a hand of money lenders, you cannot get out from the problems you started to create. And if you don't know how to fight with them, they will give you a deep trouble that could ruin your job as well as your life. 


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