Despite being in existence since 2006, many people are still unaware of Agensi Kaunseling dan Pengurusan Kredit (Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency) or simply, AKPK. This Bank Negara agency started out as an avenue to help people who are heavily in debt to get back on their feet by assisting in restructuring their borrowings.
The agency hopes to empower consumers with financial knowledge and to make prudent financial management a way of life for everyone.
During a briefing session in Ipoh recently, AKPK Chief Executive Officer, Koid Swee Lian shared with representatives from Ipoh-based financial institutions and members of the press, AKPK’s objectives and how their counsellors can help people who are in debt take charge of their finances once again.
Currently, there are three trained counsellors in Ipoh who can cater to the different communities. Providing one-to-one counselling, some of the initial questions they need answered would be the income of the debtor, expenses, financial assets and debt(s).
Based on this background information, the counsellor will identify expenses and ways to save money. He will then tailor a debt management programme, negotiating with multiple lenders if necessary. Once this schedule is accepted by the lenders, the one monthly repayment amount should not be difficult to meet, as it is always within the repayment capacity of the debtor.
Easy as this may sound, there are certain criteria that a person has to meet prior to enrolment into the debt management programme. Open only to individuals, they must have a positive net disposable income, have a cumulative debt not exceeding RM2 million and only from credit providers approved by Bank Negara Malaysia, not under advanced litigation or bankrupt.
The main challenge would be for the individual to be proactive in turning around his or her lifestyle and scale it down as much as possible.
To date, more than 200,000 people have come forward to AKPK for financial counselling and out of this almost 90,000 have enrolled in its debt management programme. So far, 3412 people have exited the programme, successfully clearing their debt with total outstanding of RM130.86 million.
There are many factors that contribute to mounting debts. They include poor financial planning, high medical expenses, loss of job and slowdown or failure in business. Many also get caught in credit card debt, personal loans, hire purchases and housing loans without fully understanding the impact of the high interest rate charged.
Those who would like to empower themselves with personal financial knowledge can do so by logging on to AKPK’s online learning portal: http://power.akpk.org.my/.
On the other hand, anyone who is faced with a personal financial crisis and finds himself at his wits’ end should seek advice from AKPK. Services offered by the agency are free of charge.
Agensi Kaunseling Dan Pengurusan Kredit
(Credit Counselling And Debt Management Agency)
Address: Unit B-2-1, Greentown Square,
Jalan Dato’ Seri Ahmad Said, 30450 Ipoh, Perak.
Office hours: 8.30am – 5.30pm (Monday to Friday)
Toll free: 1-800-88-2575 Website: http://www.akpk.org.my