©The Star Online (Used by permission)
Thursday, 03 Oct 2019
THE National House Buyers Association (HBA) concurs with the Bar Council of Malaysia's press statement titled: '"Bar Council urges banks to review processing fees on bank loan documents" (The Star, Sept 27; online at bit.ly/star_fees).
Most house buyers will require financing to buy a home. While there appears to be stiff competition among banks for market share and interest rates may be kept low, house buyers are ultimately at the mercy of banks when it comes to the detailed terms and conditions of the housing loan.
The HBA has been urging banks in Malaysia to be fair and more transparent in their dealing with borrowers for a while now. Hence, credit must be given to participating banks for finally agreeing to adopt a standardised template for housing loans with simplified language that is easy for the layman to understand. That was in 2013.
Since then, the HBA has been calling for the RM500,000 threshold for the loan agreement to be removed, as the agreement should be applicable for all housing loans regardless of the amount, as the type of the loan is the same. Already most landed houses in the Klang Valley, in areas such as Puchong and Kota Damansara, cost more than RM500,000. So why not extend the coverage to all housing loans? HBA is pleased to note that banks have heeded our call and have removed the threshold.
Nowadays, law firms undertaking bank's work have to purchase standardised pre–printed forms or, typically nowadays, download the documents from the bank€s portal for a price. Prices range from RM100 to RM800.
Such expenses are, of course, passed down to the customer/borrower as disbursements, usually under the column "purchase of bank's printed forms". Couldn€t a soft copy be made available to law firms to adopt and print at their own cost and expense? After all, printing charges are only limited to RM50, as approved by the Bar Council.
HBA calls for banks to protect the interest of their borrowers instead of only focusing on profits and pleasing shareholders.
The Finance Ministry, Bank Negara and the Association of Banks Malaysia (ABM) have a legitimate interest in the final shape of the banking industry as being one that is principled and "customer friendly" and we sincerely hope banks heed the call.
DATUK CHANG KIM LOONG
National House Buyers Association (HBA)