National Happiness Fund: Switching from high-interest loans to low-interest ones

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With the launch of the National Happiness Fund last month, many people may be wondering what it will do to help financially struggling families and small businesses in South Korea. One of the main programs implemented under the fund is allowing borrowers replace high-interest loans with low-interest ones. Below are answers to some of the frequently asked questions regarding the program.

1. Who is eligible?

A. Individuals with an annual income of less than 40 million won or small business owners with a yearly income of less than 45 million won.

B. Those with high-interest rate loans who had been diligently paying off debts for the six months leading to end of February 2013. High interest  rates are defined as rates of more than 20%.

C. Not eligible, however are those who borrowed from lenders not registered at their administrative districts (find out here) or those with private or collateralized loans.

20130413 national happiness fund-debt refinancing

A page on the Financial Supervisory Service website (link provided above) that allows people to look up financial institutions and lenders registered with the government. Those who borrowed from other institutions are not eligible for the debt restructuring program

2. What are the expected benefits?

Up to 40 million won of debt can be refinanced into loans with interest rates in the 10-percent range.

3. When can I apply for the program?

  From April 1, 2013 to September 30, 2013

4. Where can I apply for the program?

The Korea Asset Management Corporation and branches of 16 banks nationwide*. Call 1332 for inquiries.

* Kookmin Bank, Shinhan Bank, Woori Bank, Hana Bank, Korea Exchange Bank, Citi Bank, NongHyup Bank, Suhyup Bank, Industrial Bank of Korea, Standard Chartered Bank, Kyongnam Bank, Kwangju Bank, Daegu Bank, Busan Bank, Jeonbuk Bank, Bank of Cheju

By Sojung Park

 

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