ONLINE FEEDBACK: SLB wrong to publish names, faces of delinquents
Readers have weighed in on a pronouncement by Executive Director of the National Integrity Action (NIA) Professor Trevor Munroe that the Students' Loan Bureau is wrong to publish the names and faces of delinquent borrowers.
Speaking at an NIA town hall meeting in May Pen, Clarendon last week, Munroe said while it was not right for these students to borrow loans and not repay, the SLB's action was not right either.
He said there are many large entities that are not paying over the requisite taxes to the government but no similar action is taken against them.
According to Munroe, the SLB's action is yet another example of the disparity in the treatment of the small man and the "big fish".
Here are some responses to Munroe's argument:
I agree with Mr Munroe. Not only are debtors to the government not exposed they often benefit from significant reductions in debt. The printing of names will not impact those who do not want to pay and will allow those who are unable to pay to obtain financing. It was donkey in his wisdom who said 'di worl nuh level'. Debtors to financial institutions are not exposed in this manner either. The SLB collections department is also significantly incapable of managing its portfolio as the data it has is hardly maintained. I am aware of a situation were the SLB complained they were unable to reach a borrower yet were able to send email regarding publication and visit the borrowers workplace. The publication is yet another knee jerk reaction of a government agency with poor customer service, inability to manage data and belittling of its customers.
- Samure Taylor
I am a grateful beneficiary of the SLB because I was able to finish my tertiary level education. I do, however, agree with the comments of Executive Director of the National Integrity Action Professor Trevor Munroe in that publishing the photographs of delinquent borrowers is not right. Whilst I do agree that there are borrowers who have failed to do their part in repaying their loans, there are individuals who due to their circumstances are not able to keep their loan up-to-date. For example, after graduating university it took me two years to get a full time job and in those two years I was not able to repay my loan the way I should have been repaying which resulted in thousands of arrears. Once I started working I repaid as often as I could and paid more than my monthly repayment amount. All of which went directly to my principal amount while the arrears remained. At present, the restructuring option is no longer available so any payment made goes towards the principal amount and arrears which I believe should have been the standard procedure from the start. I strongly believe that the SLB should find other means of getting outstanding monies from those delinquent borrowers who are "not repaying" their loans and find ways to aid those who are indeed repaying but face challenges along the way. Yes, legal actions can be taken and yes I agree that if borrowers are not repaying take such action, but along the way there are those who are trying, and how do you compensate them for trying, by posting their photographs? I would believe that there are certain guidelines that are followed before legal action is taken and I believe that instead of posting photographs, reiterate the importance of loan repayment, implement practical ways that borrowers who have arrears can cover their arrears and keep their loan up-to-date and for those who are not showing any interest in repaying then take legal action.|
- Tenesia Bailey
I started my degree at Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville and since I started I have had a lot of hiccups. I started out on SLB loan. I signed up for four years but have not gotten a four-year loan. My mom who was my guarantor lost her job and was unable to guarantee my loan for me to continue. I am now stuck between a rock and a hard place because SLB wants me to pay back over $50,000 a month, despite the fact that I have made them aware of my situation, specifically that I have not finished my degree. They don't care as long as they get their money. I have been out of school since 2015. I had three semesters left to complete my degree but at this point I am not making nearly enough to save so I can finish my degree much less to pay SLB over $50,00 per month. I am so frustrated with how the system is and there is no one to help. It just feels like I have been lost in the system.