Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 04/12/2013 05:47 | By Channel NewsAsia

Companies urged to offer financial guidance to customers

Companies urged to offer financial guidance to customers

Companies urged to offer financial guidance to customers

SINGAPORE: The government hopes that more commercial companies will offer financial guidance to their customers - especially those from needy families.

Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing said this is important so that lower income families don't overstretch their resources.

Mdm Yvonne Chan juggles three jobs and single-handedly looks after her two sons.

So it was welcome news for her when she was selected as one of 10 beneficiaries to receive household items and grocery vouchers from Courts.

Mdm Chan said: "Compared to the past, my house now looks a bit neat. I can call my friends over or my sons can invite their friends to my house. Last time, there was no study table. They will do their homework here or at the kitchen table, and now they have a proper place for them to study and do their homework."

The funds to purchase household items were raised over a 10-week campaign launched by Courts Charity House last December where Courts contributed S$1 for ever 'like' pledged on its Facebook application about the programme. 

In addition, the company turned volunteer hours by charity group Heartware Network's volunteers into real funds, awarding S$5 for every hour of community work by the top 11 youth volunteers. The amount raised was then exchanged for items sold at Courts' stores.

Courts also reaches out to lower income customers like Mdm Chan by providing them financial guidance.

Mr Terry O'Connor, CEO of Courts Singapore, said: "When it comes to financing and when people are taking a position on our instalment scheme, it's to make sure they can afford what they are asking for. If they can't, don't take that order or reduce the size of the order."

And the government hopes that more companies will adopt this business model.

Mr Chan said: "They provide a credit scheme and when they provide it, it's not about making money. It's also a responsibility to make sure that they provide some kind of financial guidance to the people taking on the credit scheme so that the people don't get themselves into trouble and then become a family at risk.

"At the end of the day, you can have all the big policies at the national level but when it comes down to the ground you need to have people who know the actual situation and who can connect up to the corporate partners and families in need."

Courts said its specialist team will offer financial guidance to customers after studying their credit history. - CNA/de

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