NATION

‘Union Wrong’

Commercial banks in Fiji will not stop lending to teachers, nurses or any civil servants who are employed by contracts. This was made clear by major banks in the country
16 Aug 2017 11:20
‘Union Wrong’
ANZ Fiji Country Head Saud Minam.

Commercial banks in Fiji will not stop lending to teachers, nurses or any civil servants who are employed by contracts.

This was made clear by major banks in the country after comments were made by Fijian Teachers Association president Netani Drauvesi yesterday during their 83rd Annual Delegates Conference at the Yat Sen hall.

All new appointments since 2008 have been made on contractual basis. There has not been a single report of any loans being denied to these recruits because of their contracts.

ANZ Fiji Country Head Saud Minam who is also employed on a contract basis by the Bank last night reiterated that holding contracts is not the only requirement they look at while assessing loan applications.

“We want to help our customers thrive, and that could be by helping young professionals buy their first home or investment property, or helping a customer save more for their future. Whether you’re a civil servant or work in the private sector or own your own business, you meet our lending criteria, we want to do business with you.”

HFC Bank had even put out a paid advertisement earlier correcting this misinformation.

Last night chief executive officer of HFC Bank Raj Sharma said the Bank, which is the only 100 per cent Fijian owned Bank, confirms that it will continue to offer lending facilities to all applicants based on their financial standing and their ability to meet the repayments as and when due.

“Recently, there have been reports of Banks asking for specific terms of employment, including the length of the employment contract. HFC Bank does not do this.

“Contrary to these reports, HFC Bank confirms that a customer on contract employment; including civil servants, private sector employees and individuals will not be disadvantaged nor will the term of the contract affect his/her ability to apply for a loan.

“This is not the only criteria for assessment of a loan. What is of prime importance in assessing a loan application is the amount of the loan applied for, ability of the customer to meet the repayments, the equity or the contribution, the purpose, the collateral or security and the credit history.

“HFC Bank continues to lend to employees both from the public and private sectors who are on contract employment. HFC Bank notes that most modern day employment arrangements are on a fixed term basis through employment contracts.

“Please refer to HFC Bank for any further clarification.

“We encourage all Fijians to support the only Bank owned by all Fijians.”

From left: National Federation Party leader Biman Prasad and unionists Rajeshwar Singh and Attar Singh during the Fijian Teachers Association 83rd annual delegates conference at Yat Sen hall on August 15, 2017.  Photo: Ronald Kumar

From left: National Federation Party leader Biman Prasad and unionists Rajeshwar Singh and Attar Singh during the Fijian Teachers Association 83rd annual delegates conference at Yat Sen hall on August 15, 2017.
Photo: Ronald Kumar

However, FTA believes the enforcement of conditional contracts which favours renewals when expired is creating insecurities amongst the teachers and also destabilises teachers careers and financial savings.

Mr Drauvesi said most teachers who wish to take long term loans for properties will now be unable to do so and policies will negatively weaken teacher’s security and welfare for sustainable and quality education

Westpac Banking Corporation General Manager Brett Hooker had earlier said: “Workers on contracts are eligible for loans with Westpac. We assess each loan application on its own merit and when assessing government employees, like other contract workers, we take into consideration the longevity of the contract in addition to the years of continual service. Generally, we will provide long-term facilities against these contracts but of course it depends on the individual application.”

Bred Bank is also believed to have similar policies and do not turn down applications by civil servants merely because they are on contracts.

“The Bank has its own Credit Policy. As with all prudent credit policies, in BRED Bank, all borrowers are assessed on a case by case basis in line with the policies.”

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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