AMP’s Debt Advisory Centre Exceeds Target in First Year, Has Plans to Expand Services

29 April 2014

  1. One year after its launch in April 2013, the Debt Advisory Centre (DAC) has far exceeded its original target of assisting 200 clients with debt issues over the span of two years. As at April 2014, the Centre, which is run by the Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP), has successfully assisted more than 580 individuals in debt, of which 410 were intensively case managed. These 410 clients had total loans amounting to $12 million, which has since been reduced to $9 million (25% reduction) after intervention by the DAC.
  2. Prior to DAC’s intervention, 38% of the clients had used 50% to 99% of their monthly income to repay their debt. Another 38% used their full monthly income to pay off their loans, with some of them resorting to borrowing from other sources as the loan repayment amount was higher than their monthly income. After receiving assistance from the DAC, 76% of the clients use less than 50% of their monthly income to pay off their loans, which meant that more of them are now able to focus on meeting their families’ needs first before making their debt repayment.
  3. To keep up with the demand for its services, the DAC will be expanding its scope of services and manpower. Apart from providing advice on debt issues, DAC now conducts financial management and literacy workshops aimed at equipping its clients with essential skills to prevent them from falling into the debt trap again. DAC has also begun its engagement sessions with helping professionals such as social workers, counsellors and case officers from various organisations to share strategies and tips on how they can help their clients who have debt issues. At the same time, three dedicated case officers will be available to serve the needs of the DAC clients instead of one as initially planned.
  4. Moving forward, the DAC aims to extend its services to other communities, with the long-term goal of becoming a national-level organisation.
  5. A part of the DAC’s resources will also be channelled towards research on the extent of the debt problem in the community.
  6. “The fact that the DAC has helped more debtors in one year than the number it had intended to help in two years hints at the seriousness of the debt problem within the Malay/Muslim community. More research needs to be done on just how extensive this problem is and this is one of the areas that our research subsidiary, RIMA, is currently focusing on,” said Mr Mohd Anuar Yusop, Executive Director of AMP.
  7. The DAC is a one-of-its-kind centre launched on 1 April 2013 to provide comprehensive advice and holistic assistance to its clients and their families towards resolving their debt issues. The DAC is a key recommendation of the Economics panel of the 3rd National Convention of Singapore Muslim Professionals held by AMP in June 2012. It was set up with a broader objective of strengthening the community’s overall financial standing.