LENDING & CREDIT | Staff Reporter, Singapore

CIMB Singapore customers band together to protest mortgage hike

More than 60 customers now comprise the group.

A group of CIMB Singapore’s mortgage customers has banded together to protest the lender’s decision to raise its floor rate threefold amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

In their recently-launched website, the group questioned whether any bank in Singapore has the right to raise rates as they please, and also expressed frustration on the lack of progress on their correspondence with the lender.

CIMB Singapore earlier announced in April that it will be raising its floor rate from 0.1% to 0.9% from 18 May, with customers receiving a written letter from CIMB by around 17 April. The lender later delayed the start date to 1 January 2021, although this was not enough to appease the group.

“CIMB has responded that they will postpone the floor rate increase to 1 January 2021 but we do not think that this is an appropriate response. All parties need to understand that this is not just about getting a lower rate. It is about the sanctity of contracts and unfair mortgage practices by CIMB,” a spokesperson from told Singapore Business Review in an exclusive correspondence.

More than 60 customers now comprise the movement, the spokesperson, who wished not to be named, stated in an email.

“We now have 60 people in our group and the number is rising rapidly. We had 25 people yesterday evening. We are overwhelmed with emails and have now found that there are many more people who feel strongly about this than we thought,” the group’s representative said.

The group also expressed frustration in the lack of progress from their interactions with the lender. “The responses we have been getting from CIMB have been broadly generic, [like] "We are looking into your feedback and will provide you with a response soon,’” the spokesperson stated.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has also reportedly encouraged Honest Mortgage to contact the bank directly regarding the issue, the spokesperson added.

As of now, the group has no intention of bringing the issue to court—but expressed their intention to pursue all options.

“We are not a litigious society, and we hope that a well-regulated market like Singapore does not require consumers to go to court to defend themselves against an unfair contract. However, if push comes to shove, we will explore all options,” the spokesperson concluded.

CIMB Singapore has declined to comment on the issue.

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