A year after ad rules were tightened for licensed moneylenders to curb excessive and unnecessary borrowing, the number of licensed moneylenders has dropped in Singapore.
According to the Ministry of Law, the objective of advertising is to enable borrowers to compare the terms between different moneylenders and choose the best one for their needs.
However, last year it tightened the laws to curb unnecessary borrowing.
While Registry of Moneylenders verified the 16% drop from 260 to 218 licensed moneylenders, it added that drop cannot solely be attributed to tightening ad rules.
According to local media reports, the Singapore Moneylender's Association is now asking to loosen the grip on the strict advertising rules. Instead, it is advocating for tighter rules of approval to become licensed moneylenders.
The Ministry of Law announced on 13 October 2011 that from 1 November 2011, under the new set of directions, licensed moneylenders could advertise only through business and consumer directories in print or online media.
Other channels licensed money lenders can advertise through include internet websites belonging to the licensee and ads placed within the approved place of business, or on the exterior side of the wall, door, shutter, gate or window of the approved place of business.
However mediums such as street and telephone marketing, TVC production, print and mobile ads were banned. Also banned were brochures and flyers along with both online and offline banners.
Failure to comply with the directions is a punishable offence with a fine of up to SG$20,000 or suspension and revocation of the business licence.