Managing your debt with AKPK’s help

By FARA AISYAH / Pic By HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN

DEBTS are common for many Malaysians. The federal government has some RM1 trillion in debts. Housing loans, car loans, credit cards expenses and higher education loans form the bulk of their debts and servicing, all can sometimes be a burden, more so when one is displaced from their job.

The first thing one should do when debts are getting overwhelming is to seek help from a trusted party such as the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK).

The agency was established by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) at the height of the financial boom in 2006, to pro- actively help individuals take better control of their financial standings and gain peace of mind that comes from the wise use of credit.

Its services include financial education, financial counselling and Debt Management Programme (DMP).

The DMP service — that aims to assist consumers to regain financial control — is being offered free to individuals.

What does AKPK’s DMP do?
AKPK does not provide loans or financing. Its counsellors will work with individuals to develop a personalised debt repayment plan in consultation with their financial service providers.

The financial service providers include all conventional commercial banks, Islamic banks, insurance companies, takaful operators, development financial institutions and credit/charge card issuers regulated by BNM, as well as selected cooperatives and the National Higher Education Fund Corp (PTPTN).

The DMP is available only to individuals with the following criteria:
• Have a positive net disposable income after meeting all expenses;
• Total debt exposure does not exceed RM5 million;
• Not under any advanced litigation process such as creditors petition; and
• Not adjudged bankrupt.

What does the DMP process entail?
The borrower is encouraged to attend a 30-minute public briefing as well as a question and answer session at AKPK’s premises or branches accorded with public briefing. For branches without public briefing, the borrower may discuss with AKPK’s counsellors immediately.

The borrower must disclose his/her financial predicament with AKPK’s counsellor.

A review of the borrower’s monthly expenses is done with a view to identify potential savings.

All loan or financing facilities and latest loan or financing balances are declared by the borrower.

Negotiations take place between AKPK and financial institutions on behalf of the borrower.

This is followed by the issuance of a DMP confirmation letter by AKPK.

One may ask to sign the supplementary letter of offer by their financial institutions upon approval of DMP.

Documents required during counselling:
• Latest central credit reference information system (CCRIS) report from BNM.
• Latest loan/financing statements for all facilities.
• Latest salary slips, if employed. If the borrower is self-employed, he/she must provide the proof of income such as latest bank statement, Employees Provident Fund statement (if any), any evidence of cost and income of the business.
• The borrowers should include legal documents, if any.

What are the DMP application processes?
One may apply online at www.akpk.org.my.

Bring all required documents for counselling session or upload to web. A counselling session takes place followed by DMP activation. This is a confirmation of enrolment into DMP.

It is important to note that DMP applicants are required to make the first payment to AKPK within 10 days, after being notified via email of their successful application.

Should they fail to do so (within 10 days from the date of notice), they need to go to the nearest AKPK branch for a discussion with the credit counsellors.

Upon activation, DMP applicants can download the programme’s letter of offer at AKPK’s customer portal.

After enrolling in the DMP, customer’s credit lines such as credit card and overdraft facilities will be withdrawn.

In addition, the customer may not obtain new credit while remaining in DMP. If he does apply for it, it is subject to the financial service provider’s discretion.

The benefits of enrolling in the DMP include cashflow realignment, reasonable repayment terms based on available cashflow, moratorium of legal proceedings and no harassment from debt collectors.