Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) yesterday issued a statement, warning the public of the risks associated with unauthorised firms or individuals offering to settle existing loans.
“It may solve financial problems in the short term, but may result in greater financial losses in the long term,” said the AMBD in its statement.
“Members of the public who wish to obtain loans or financing are advised to approach licenced financial institutions such as banks and finance companies. If a consumer chooses to deal with persons who are not licenced and regulated by the AMBD, then he or she will not have the protection afforded under the regulatory framework administered by the AMBD.”
The statement was released after the AMBD noted an increase in unlicensed moneylenders actively targetting customers of financial institutions and offering to settle existing loans in exchange for an excessive ‘service fee’.
These offers are usually made on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, or through text messages.
“The public is reminded that any person conducting a money lending business is required to be licensed under the Moneylenders Act, Cap 62. Currently, there are no persons who have been licensed under the Act.
It is an offence under Section 8 (1) Moneylenders Act to carry on the business of a moneylender without a licence, and if found guilty, the accused shall be liable upon conviction to a fine and a prison term of 18 months,” said the AMBD.
“Furthermore, the AMBD, in cooperation with other relevant enforcement authorities, will continue to monitor any illegal financial activity, including suspected unlicensed moneylenders.
The AMBD will not hesitate to take further action, where appropriate.”
The public may obtain a list of persons or institutions licensed by the AMBD through the AMBD App, which can be downloaded free of charge on the App Store for iPhone users and the Google Playstore for Android users, or by visiting the AMBD website at https://www.ambd.gov.bn.
A list of individuals, companies and websites that are unauthorised under the relevant laws and regulations administered by AMBD can also be found on the AMBD Alert List, which will be updated from time to time on its website.