The state-run Social Security System (SSS) over the weekend said collection from SSS Housing Loan for the first six months of 2019 reached P849.04 million, a 27.56 percent increase from the P665.60 million collected during the same period in 2018.
"We are pleased with the increase in collection from housing loans. With this additional fund, we can help more members who may be having difficulties in acquiring properties or improving their houses. Members may use the Housing Loan for low-cost housing or house repair and improvement. They may also use this loan to purchase a lot and construct a new house. Likewise, they can use the loan to purchase an existing residential unit or construct a new house on their owned lot," SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora C. Ignacio explained.
Under the SSS Housing Loan program, members may avail of the Direct Housing Loan for Workers' Organization Members, Direct Housing Loan Facility for Overseas Filipino Workers, House Repair/Improvement Loan, or Assumption of Mortgage.
The increase in collection was the result of the aggressive collection and foreclosure efforts of the pension fund together with the development of a new billing system for more convenient collection.
"In line with the intensified collection efforts of the SSS' Housing and Acquired Assets Management Department, 3,669 billing letters were sent to housing loan mortgagors or borrowers from January to July 2019. This is to remind them of their housing loan obligations, and prevent incurring penalties and foreclosure of their property," Ignacio said.
Of these, 1,379 mortgagors already made payments in response to the billing letters sent to them. This collection initiative allows validation of payment records and reconciliation of accounts of member-borrowers.
"The housing loan may be paid in multiples of five years to a maximum period of 30 years at an annual rate ranging from eight percent for properties worth up to P450,000 to 11 percent per annum for properties worth P1.5 million to P2 million. SSS also sells foreclosed properties at affordable rates and convenient terms," Ignacio added.
While collection increased, the amount of housing loan releases during the first half of the year decreased by 49.26 percent from P4.08 million released in 2018 to P2.07 million this year.
To qualify for the loan, a member-borrower must be a member of a registered workers' organization or an OFW with at least 36 months contribution and 24 continuous contributions in the period prior to application. The member must be 60 years old and below at the time of application and has not been previously granted an SSS housing loan or any final SSS benefit. The member?s loan payment must be updated.
"Many members are having difficulties in paying steep house rental fees or are living in houses in poor condition. Thus, we encourage our members to take advantage of the Housing Loan program, where they may borrow up to P2 million to buy their own home or improve the condition of their current house," Ignacio said.