In an era senior citizens were largely considered as a liability by society and overlooked by the financial sector, Pan Asia Bank has come forward to offer the ‘Sammana’ loan scheme, which has given government pensioners the financial independence when such empowerment seemed least possible.
Pan Asia Bank’s ‘Sammana’ loan scheme offers facilities up to Rs.1 million for the pensioners as well as for the retired Central Bank employees with no security requirements.
Being the pioneer in introducing this loan scheme into the market two years ago, the bank has now offered financial assistance to a larger retired populace and thus commands the largest market share in this segment.
Coinciding with the National Pensioners’ Day on October 8, Pan Asia Bank is now gearing up to offer even more attractive value additions to the ‘Sammana’ loans scheme.
Speaking on these initiatives, the bank’s Deputy General Manager Retail Banking and SME Naleen Edirisinghe said the bank is intending to add a lot of new features which will further benefit the country’s senior citizens to lead a worry-free retirement while meeting their financial commitments.
“This loan scheme is available for government sector pensioners below 70 years of age who receive a monthly pension of Rs.10,000 or above. A simplified process is introduced to the applicants by omitting the requirement for guarantors or any mortgage facilities.
All they have to do is to transfer the monthly pension to Pan Asia Bank,” Edirisinghe said.
According to Edirisinghe the loan scheme was a long-felt need in the market as no other bank or financial institute was prepared to offer a loan to the pensioners in this country.
“In fact, until we saw the opportunity, nobody in the industry saw our pensioners as a viable segment, who need the financial assistance. Most others look at them as a risk to the financial system but we saw an immense potential in them,” he added.
Besides the business and social responsibility dimensions associated with ‘Sammana’, this also contributed towards the revival of economic activities in the country by way of providing seed capital to commence cottage industries by the retirees.
This is because the loan is mainly granted to empower self-employment among the pensioners enabling them to re-enter the work force as an income generator instead of relying purely on monthly pension or an interest income.
“There are many people among us who aspire to start their own business in the areas of their specialization once they retire but fall short of realizing their dreams only because of inadequate capital.
But now, if anyone wants to start their own business, the ‘Sammana’ loan provides them with the required capital with ease of mind from having to give securities and higher interest rates,” he explained.
In addition, the loan can also be used for any other purpose such as a wedding, higher education of a child, house renovations, pilgrimages, etc.
Unlike applying for any other loan, applying for ‘Sammana’ is quite straightforward because it only requires the applicant to transfer his monthly pension to a Pan Asia Bank account.
On top of that, the bank offers a very attractive interest rate of 5.5 percent for the ‘Sammana’ savings account.
“We are contemplating of offering many other benefits which we feel will be of useful to our senior citizens,” Edirisinghe added.
The applicant would also receive an ATM Visa debit card and an array of benefits such as Internet banking facility.
Customers who obtain this loan will also get a special insurance policy.
“This insurance policy ensures that in an event of a customer’s untimely demise before the loan is paid off, his/her family is not burdened with the liability of the remainder of the loan.
Under this scheme, loans up to Rs.1,000,000 could be obtained with repayment periods up to seven years.
The loan amount per applicant is decided based on the monthly pension, whereas the monthly installment will not exceed 60 percent of the monthly pension. A pensioner who earns Rs.10,000 is eligible for a loan of Rs.315,000,” he added.
“Creation of a special product for pensioners is an initiative keeping in mind a sector that contributed so much to the upliftment of society throughout their lives,” he finally said.