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Bigger debt collection role mooted for Public Security Ministry

Update: October, 14/2016 - 10:12
Several problems including kidnapping, blackmailing and violence have prompted a call for the Ministry of Public Security (MoPS) to play a greater role in debt collection. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI – Several problems including kidnapping, blackmailing and violence have prompted a call for the Ministry of Public Security (MoPS) to play a greater role in debt collection.

The proposal has been made by the Ministry of Finance (MoF), which says the management of debt collection by several State agencies has proved inadequate.

The MoF said its recommendation, contained in draft amendments to a decree, is based on the fact that the majority of violations committed by debt collectors involve the disturbance of public security and order.

It cited two notable cases: the TaiGa Debt Collection Company, based in HCM City, which had committed “terrorised” debtors to settle overdue debts; and the Công Lý (Justice) Company, also based in HCM City, whose staff had colluded with gangsters to engage in kidnapping and blackmailing.

The finance ministry said no legal provision existed for MoPS to play a role in debt collection, and the police do not have the authority to prescribe administrative penalties against erring debt collection businesses.

“Thus, clearer regulations on inspecting and monitoring debt collection enterprises are required,” the ministry said in a statement yesterday.

It proposed that the MoPS be given additional responsibility for handling administrative violations in debt collecting.

While the MoF will submit regulations on debt collection services, local administrations should inspect debt collection services happening in their localities, the ministry said.

The draft adds new rules on uniforms for debt collectors. It says debt collection agencies should design uniforms for their staff and submit the designs to local authorities including the police. The staff of such agencies should wear the approved uniforms and present their ID card as well as a reference letter from their employers.

Explaining the new dress code regulations, the MoF said it was not unusual for debt collectors to gather as a large group, wearing “underworld-style” clothes and intimidating debtors.

Such tactics affects the reputation and rights of individuals and organisations in debt and undermines efforts of the Government to retain public order and security, it said.

A dress code could help increase awareness of the need to abide by the law, prevent employees of debt collecting agencies from committing offences, and inject greater professionalism in this business.

It would also increase credibility of debt collecting agencies as a legitimate service and put debtors’ minds at ease, the ministry said.

Importantly, professional uniforms would also enhance the public’s role in monitoring debt collection activities, it added. - VNS


Why it happens

Many enterprises had lost faith in debt collection and settlement via court proceedings because of ineffectual enforcement of the courts’ orders.

As a last resort, they tended to hire gangsters to force debtors into paying up. The success rate of debt collection through such nefarious means was as high as 90 per cent, and this dipped to about 50 per cent when using legal methods, said Nguyễn Minh Đức of the Legal Department of the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)

As of 2015, debt collection agencies operated in just three provinces and cities, according to official reports from 43 provinces and cities.

There were 16 firms operating in HCM City, four in Đà Nẵng City, and one in An Giang Province. - VNS





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