News Column

Number of people unable to pay debts rises 25 pct

July 17, 2014

ISTANBUL (CIHAN)- The number of people unable to make payments on personal loans and credit cards rose 25.4 percent during the first five months of 2014 on a year-on-year basis, according to recent figures from the Turkish Banks Association (TBB).

The figure had climbed to 645,474 as of the end of May this year, while for the same period of 2013 the count stood at 514,712. The number of those unable to make credit card payments rose to 380,180, a 23.5 percent year-on-year increase, while those unable to make payments on personal loans increased to 265,294, a 28.3 percent increase.

The month of May saw the largest spike in non-payers, as more than 142,000 people were recorded as being unable to make payments on their credit cards or personal loans during that month alone. The figures have risen drastically in recent years, as the total number of non-payers in both categories in 2011 was just over 366,000, meaning that if this trend persists throughout 2014, the number of non-payers this year will be four times as high as it was in 2011.

"There was a problem regarding people's sources of income; either they lost their jobs or they did not earn enough to pay off their debts. An increase of 25 percent is staggering. It appears that there is a large group of people unable to pay off their debts. April unemployment figures showed that employment is not growing. People are facing the prospect of losing their jobs. We will see an increase in [non-payers] in the upcoming months, as the job sector narrows and the amount of money entering people's households shrinks," said economist Mustafa SÖnmez, speaking to the Dogan news agency on Wednesday.

News reports from earlier in the year indicated that over half of those with housing or consumer loans -- a total of 10 million people -- belong to lower income groups earning less than TL 2,000 monthly. The higher income bracket accounted for a small fraction of those holding housing and consumer loans, as only 7 percent of loan holders earned more than TL 5,000 per month.

(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CIHAN

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Source: Cihan News Agency (Turkey)

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