February 26, 2017, 1:38 pm
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.07316 UAE Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 2.54134 Albanian Lek
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03547 Neth Antilles Guilder
1 Philippine Peso = 0.30584 Argentine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02581 Australian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03566 Aruba Florin
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03985 Barbados Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.58916 Bangladesh Taka
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03686 Bulgarian Lev
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0075 Bahraini Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 33.57502 Burundi Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01992 Bermuda Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02801 Brunei Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13648 Bolivian Boliviano
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06094 Brazilian Real
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01992 Bahamian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.33493 Bhutan Ngultrum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.2068 Botswana Pula
1 Philippine Peso = 398.88425 Belarus Ruble
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0398 Belize Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0261 Canadian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02005 Swiss Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 12.72046 Chilean Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13672 Chinese Yuan
1 Philippine Peso = 57.13688 Colombian Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 11.05639 Costa Rica Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01992 Cuban Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.07671 Cape Verde Escudo
1 Philippine Peso = 0.50888 Czech Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 3.53457 Djibouti Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14 Danish Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 0.93146 Dominican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.19109 Algerian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.2946 Estonian Kroon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.31381 Egyptian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.4485 Ethiopian Birr
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01883 Euro
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04109 Fiji Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01587 Falkland Islands Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01587 British Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08724 Ghanaian Cedi
1 Philippine Peso = 0.86631 Gambian Dalasi
1 Philippine Peso = 183.70194 Guinea Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14674 Guatemala Quetzal
1 Philippine Peso = 4.07272 Guyana Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.1546 Hong Kong Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.46742 Honduras Lempira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13926 Croatian Kuna
1 Philippine Peso = 1.29548 Haiti Gourde
1 Philippine Peso = 5.80753 Hungarian Forint
1 Philippine Peso = 265.9494 Indonesian Rupiah
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07359 Israeli Shekel
1 Philippine Peso = 1.32863 Indian Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 23.53058 Iraqi Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 645.38754 Iran Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 2.17673 Iceland Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 2.5527 Jamaican Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01409 Jordanian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 2.24469 Japanese Yen
1 Philippine Peso = 2.05918 Kenyan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 1.37643 Kyrgyzstan Som
1 Philippine Peso = 79.57561 Cambodia Riel
1 Philippine Peso = 9.1855 Comoros Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 17.93186 North Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 22.54632 Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00607 Kuwaiti Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01634 Cayman Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.20761 Kazakhstan Tenge
1 Philippine Peso = 163.27555 Lao Kip
1 Philippine Peso = 29.96613 Lebanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 2.99761 Sri Lanka Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 1.79319 Liberian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25802 Lesotho Loti
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06074 Lithuanian Lita
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01236 Latvian Lat
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02836 Libyan Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.20106 Moroccan Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 0.39739 Moldovan Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.15302 Macedonian Denar
1 Philippine Peso = 26.97749 Myanmar Kyat
1 Philippine Peso = 49.15322 Mongolian Tugrik
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15924 Macau Pataca
1 Philippine Peso = 7.07312 Mauritania Ougulya
1 Philippine Peso = 0.70472 Mauritius Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.30803 Maldives Rufiyaa
1 Philippine Peso = 14.28352 Malawi Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 0.3922 Mexican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0886 Malaysian Ringgit
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25623 Namibian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.27615 Nigerian Naira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.58478 Nicaragua Cordoba
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16617 Norwegian Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 2.16378 Nepalese Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02755 New Zealand Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00766 Omani Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01992 Panama Balboa
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06452 Peruvian Nuevo Sol
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06317 Papua New Guinea Kina
1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.08428 Pakistani Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08101 Polish Zloty
1 Philippine Peso = 113.69198 Paraguayan Guarani
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07254 Qatar Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08479 Romanian New Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.15051 Russian Rouble
1 Philippine Peso = 16.24686 Rwanda Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07471 Saudi Arabian Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.155 Solomon Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.26894 Seychelles Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12751 Sudanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.17911 Swedish Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02802 Singapore Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01587 St Helena Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.44244 Slovak Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 147.37996 Sierra Leone Leone
1 Philippine Peso = 10.93843 Somali Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 461.47041 Sao Tome Dobra
1 Philippine Peso = 0.17378 El Salvador Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 10.26061 Syrian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25623 Swaziland Lilageni
1 Philippine Peso = 0.69755 Thai Baht
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0455 Tunisian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04518 Tongan paʻanga
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07108 Turkish Lira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13368 Trinidad Tobago Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.61008 Taiwan Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 44.39131 Tanzanian Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.54164 Ukraine Hryvnia
1 Philippine Peso = 71.22933 Ugandan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01992 United States Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.56326 Uruguayan New Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 66.74637 Uzbekistan Sum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.19873 Venezuelan Bolivar
1 Philippine Peso = 454.0546 Vietnam Dong
1 Philippine Peso = 2.10699 Vanuatu Vatu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0506 Samoa Tala
1 Philippine Peso = 12.34369 CFA Franc (BEAC)
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0538 East Caribbean Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 12.43714 CFA Franc (BCEAO)
1 Philippine Peso = 2.23132 Pacific Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 4.98008 Yemen Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25645 South African Rand
1 Philippine Peso = 103.39709 Zambian Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 7.2106 Zimbabwe dollar

Usury less usurious

Maybe it was another campaign promise. Let us now get rid of the 5-6 lenders. If it were a verbalized commitment, is it part of the three-fifths they say should not be taken seriously of every five too often blurted out from the presidential mouth?

The Executive command was to kill the spread of usurious lenders and effectively roll out a less predatory system of financial inclusion for those unable to access credit. Although the latter phraseology was not explicitly detailed in the prose we remember, somewhere buried in the crude and crass colloquialisms the word “usury” permeates.

Usury is a technical term. Three syllables long it encompasses complex issues from desperation to greed.  It has to do with credit as well as the abuse of credit. When the economy still had the Usury Law in effect, the word bore parameters delineating what was unconscionable against what was not.

Allow us to delve into the simplistic colloquialisms conjured that represent the popular definition of usury arrayed against the technical so that we might understand recent government initiatives ridding ourselves of it. 

This is especially important. One reason is the Duterte budget and the amount of taxpayer money within either as capital for inclusive growth or, as the previous administration’s concept of financial inclusion, a slush fund earmarked for controversial dole outs more politically motivated than developmental.

The cliche imagery of the usurious creditor is the eastern Indian national lending money to the desperate at a ratio of five is to six where for every P5 of principal, by the following day P6 is collected. 

Debtors are either too desperate, arithmetically-challenged, ignorant or plainly do not care that the nominal interest is actually 20 percent applied on a daily basis. Annualized and employing the Banker’s Rule of 360 days that’s effectively 7,200 percent.

In no universe can an interest charge of 7,200 percent be considered fair. If we pare the compounding periods down to a monthly basis the effective interest drastically falls to 240 percent. Still usurious by any standard. 

Those astronomical rates however matter little to desperate debtors. Never mind the arithmetic. The simplistic household economics is understandable where borrowers focus on cashflows instead. It is the maturity value that concerns them. Can they afford it? 

Unfortunately, under such shortcomings predatory creditors take liberties.

In contrast, loans granted by banks and financial intermediaries now charge less than 8 percent per annum and even less than half of that for prime borrowers depending on credit ratings, collateral business, securities pledged and a whole lot of other factors that operate between debtor, creditor and regulators. On these the requisite due diligence and documentation alone can easily overwhelm and effectively disenfranchise micro-, small and medium-scale borrowers from mainstream banking.

The gaps in financial inclusion are filled in by private lenders who provide expensive funds ranging from 12 percent to 15 percent. Interest reflects risk. The latter is however mitigated by a whole new set of criteria essentially skewed towards repayment. Lenders develop close relationships with borrowers albeit maintaining these ties as professional as possible. The success of this holistic approach is further enhanced by critical and aggressive collection systems that larger lenders cannot or do not engage in.

Soon in Tacloban the government will embark on an experiment hoping to kill the usurious 5-6 lending industry. The Department of Trade and Industry initially budgeted P1 billion to seed a government-sponsored funding program reportedly based on credit extended to the most needy at a monthly rate of 2 percent or 24 percent per annum.

Hopefully government has done its homework and has shed the curse of corruption and ineptitude. Note that 24 percent per annum is only a sliver below the 2.5 percent monthly interest charged on credit cards issued by global credit card companies that enjoy economies of scale.. 

Under the government program debtors charged those rates are far from prime. There lies the danger. Requisite documentation and securities likely to be foregone need to be replaced by in-depth, almost intrusive, due diligence efforts, the matching of capital with the requisites of borrowers and, perhaps most important, extremely critical and highly efficient collection systems. Unfortunately, depth and efficiency are alien concepts in the bureaucracy.

In the past 21 percent to 24 percent were once considered unconscionable although eventually these were adjudged reasonable by the Supreme Court in at least two jurisprudential instances, once in 1988 and again in 2006. While the usury laws are no longer in effect, in 2000 in a case involving a state lender, after considering the absolute amount of the principal relative to its  exponential and compound interest, the courts ordered reducing a rate of 18 percent down to 10 percent.

From the foregoing, do the math. High cost state-granted debt may still cause repayment defaults eventually inflicted on the taxpayer that provides the debt capital. Nearly double of the interest charged by small to medium scale private creditors, government’s 24 percent might still be prohibitive albeit a tad less usurious.
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