by Elaine R. Alanguilan
November 22, 2010
THE state home-financing fund plans to increase its membership dues by as much as 200 percent to boost its services to members, an official said over the weekend.
The fundâ€™s previous board approved the increase in January last year, but it did not implement it because of opposition from some quarters who had described the increase as too high, said Edgardo Lacson, director of the Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG Fund.
â€œHigher dues are necessary as this would allow us to extend more housing loans as we expand the membership of the Fund,â€ Lacson said.
â€œThere is a substantial backlog, particularly among the overseas Filipino workers and among the uniformed services, and we have to beef up our resources to amply cover a bigger number of members.â€
Lacson said there were now 10 million Filipinos working abroad, but not even 1 percent were fund members. The fund aimed to enroll 85,000 new members this year to bring its total membership to 570,000 by the yearâ€™s end.
The Pag IBIG fundâ€™s charter says 70 percent of its resources must be used to finance its housing loan program through which members may avail themselves of up to P3 million in housing loans.
Loan takeout has been increasing following the fundâ€™s reduction of its interest costs to provide more housing. But the housing backlog is still over a million units even if the fundâ€™s members pay P40 billion in dues each year.
â€œA 200-percent increase in membership fees would have been ideal … to address the needs of our members, but higher fees would be a deterrent. We want any increase to be as minimal as possible,â€ Lacson said.
â€œWe are now looking at liquidating our non-performing loans amounting to billions of pesos to allow for a smaller increase in membership dues.â€
Lacson said the fund was still updating its accounts and identifying more assets that could be auctioned off next year.