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Regulating Borrower Hardship in Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong: Payment Holidays During COVID-19 and Beyond

Emma Leong ()
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Emma Leong: National University of Singapore

Journal of Consumer Policy, 2022, vol. 45, issue 3, No 3, 433 pages

Abstract: Abstract Borrower hardship, while a critical issue, is not often addressed by consumer protection frameworks across the Asia–Pacific. The widespread use of payment holidays during the COVID-19 crisis provides a significant case study on the importance of having borrower hardship provisions as a consumer protection tool. This paper compares the pre-pandemic availability of payment holidays in three Asia–Pacific jurisdictions: Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. It evaluates their existing legislative frameworks, as well as regulatory and industry guidelines on borrower hardship, and contrasts this with their use of payment holidays during the pandemic. Where there were existing industry guidelines on borrower hardship, lenders were able to spearhead an industry-wide approach towards payment relief without regulatory intervention by governments. Beyond the pandemic, the paper argues that self-regulation has potential for protecting borrower interests by standardising the scope of, and the procedure for, obtaining hardship relief. It argues that there is a need for a greater prevalence of industry codes of conducts governing lenders’ approach towards borrower hardship across the Asia–Pacific.

Keywords: Borrower hardship; Payment holidays; Self-regulation; Consumer protection; Asia–Pacific (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1007/s10603-022-09515-6

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