GSIS grants calamity emergency loans

State-run Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) will grant emergency loan to more than 200,000 members who work or reside in areas devastated by tropical storm "Maring" and declared under a state of calamity by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

In a statement, Robert G. Vergara, GSIS President and General Manager said that the pension fund's members may either apply for the loan in any GSIS branch under its "file anywhere" policy or through its 147 GSIS Wireless Automated Processing System (GWAPS) kiosks.

GWAPS are stationed in the calamity areas located in provincial capitols, city halls, municipal offices, large agencies and selected Robinsons Malls. Portable kiosks will also be deployed in worst-hit areas to facilitate the loan application of affected members.

"Members may apply for the loan beginning today. The loan proceeds will be credited to their eCard accounts by Saturday, August 24, at the earliest," Vergara said.

Under the GSIS Emergency Loan Program, eligible members may borrow P20,000 payable in 36 equal monthly installments. They may renew their emergency loans upon payment of at least 12 monthly amortizations.

Active GSIS members may avail of the loan if they are working or residing in areas declared in a state of calamity; not on leave of absence without pay; have no arrearages in the payment of mandatory social insurance contributions; and have no loan that has been declared in default.

Members who do not have an eCard but who are eligible to apply for the loan may apply over-the-counter (OTC) at any GSIS office. Proceeds of OTC applications will be credited to a temporary eCard which the GSIS continues to distribute.

Members may go to the nearest GSIS office or the nearest kiosk for the status of their account if the loan proceeds are not credited within seven days from the date of application.

The GSIS has reduced the interest rate of the loan from eight to six percent, waived the one percent service fee and extended the payment of the first monthly amortization to three months from the loan drawdown.

"The GSIS has made available a budget of P7 billion for the emergency loan program this year," Vergara said.

In December 2012, the pension fund disbursed a total of P8 billion in emergency loans that benefited more than 400,000 member-borrowers.

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