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    The Costa Rican Chamber of Banks Alerts the Population and Supports the Strategy Against“Gota a Gota”Loans

    Having a budget that allows planning finances is essential to avoid this type of financing

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    The Chamber of Banks and Financial Institutions (CBF) warns the population against the so-called “gota a gota loans”, since this type of financing is very risky for the population.

    According to data from the Survey on the financial culture of Costa Ricans of the International Center of Economic Policy for Sustainable Development of the National University (CINPE-UNA), it is estimated that around 225 thousand people have an informal credit or “gota a gota” in Costa Rica.

    Of the people surveyed, 54% of the positive responses correspond to men and 46% to women, which indicates that there is no significant difference. However, more than half are between 35 and 54 years of age throughout the country, without highlighting a specific geographic region.

    These “gota a gota loans” present requirements and characteristics that may be detrimental to consumers and their safety, as they are granted by lenders that are not regulated or supervised and whose money may come from dubious sources.

    This worrying situation is the reason for the Bill N°23575 “Law that punishes the crime of drop-by-drop money lending”, which aims to criminalize extortive usury to protect victims and the vulnerable population from criminal groups.

    This is pointed out in the basic text of this bill, according to which there is a phenomenon “whose ultimate purpose is to insert the money coming from organized crime in the economic circulation of the countries, and it is the so-called drop-by-drop lending”.

    For this reason, on April 2nd this Project was approved in second debate with the purpose of regulating and sanctioning these practices with prison sentences ranging from four to fifteen years.

    Unpayable

    “For the consumer, the situation is aggravated by the fact that this type of financing presents very high costs for debtors, since the absence of regulation means that interest rates are at the discretion of the lender, who apparently resorts to extortion once the debt becomes unpayable”, commented the executive director of the Chamber of Banks, Annabelle Ortega.

    In this context, “drip loans” threaten the security of debtors and their relatives because, lacking regulation and supervision and when debts become unpayable, they lend themselves to threats or intimidation ranging from physical and psychological aggression to serious injury, damage to property or deprivation of liberty of debtors.

    Regarding this phenomenon of “gota a gota loans”, the CINPE-UNA’s Survey on the financial culture of Costa Ricans revealed that most people turn to these loans because they have an unpaid or delinquent debt in the formal sector, lose their credit record in the formal sector or due to an emergency where money is urgent.Finally, the survey revealed that 75% of the people involved in informal credit never received financial education, and that 33% do not usually keep a budget.

    Therefore, the Chamber of Banks alerts the population about the risks of these “gota a gota” loans, reiterates its commitment to financial education and inclusion in Costa Rica, through the Interbank Forums, the National Financial Education Fair, the Education Campaigns in social networks that it has been promoting for years in conjunction with the regulated financial sector and supports the Strategy against Gota a Gota.

    In this sense, we also offer some important tips to avoid having to resort to loans in the informal sector:

    Financial planning is fundamental to face debts, unforeseen events or emergencies that arise in families and that are the main reasons pointed out by the CINPE-UNA as reasons for non-payment in the formal sector.

    Budgeting according to the income and expenses of each person or family (fixed and variable expenses), as well as “hormiga” expenses, which are those small amounts of money (of “irrelevant” appearance) that, when added up at the end of the month, may represent a good part of their disbursements.

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