Personal loans spell doom for borrowers...
Vol XXVIII NO. 83 Saturday 11 June 2005
By Amira Al Hussaini
Why is it that we have to keep up with the Jones' in everything we do?
Can someone explain to me why Bahrain is a nation in debt, with BD1 billion outstanding in personal bank loans?
The question here is how much of this money is the size of the actual debt and how much is interest incurred by unscrupulous banks, who try to sell poor people castles in the clouds?
Also, how much of this money actually went on necessities and how much more was spent on luxuries, from cars to expensive, sprawling homes, honeymoons and holidays to exotic locations, lavish weddings and education and treatment abroad?
I personally hang up on salesmen who call asking me if I want yet another credit card, or up to 20 times my salary in personal loans, with no questions asked.
I don't need to even think about it because I know that I don't want to get sucked into a vicious circle which will tighten a noose around my neck and make me regret every fil I borrowed, once the creditors come knocking on my door.
If I regret anything, it may be the rude way I attack those salesmen, who are probably working to pay off loans themselves.
People have the right to dream and fulfil their aspirations, but taking loans to make those dreams come true is like sinking into an abyss.
I know people who are scraping the floor to make ends meet and to pay those parasitical banks their loans, topped by an interest very close to the amount they borrowed, just because they wanted to show off with a flashy car and enjoy the perks of a first-class holiday.
My heart breaks every time I see a young couple borrowing money to start their lives and I wonder who really is behind this debt culture, which is reducing people to slaves, who work and toil all day just to pay off ridiculous interest rates.
I know that waiting to achieve a dream is difficult and not many people have patience, especially when advertisements for personal loans are so tempting and are now seen on billboards in the streets.
They even intrude into your privacy in the form of SMS messages on your mobile, whetting your appetite and making you drool for what you can have instantly in exchange for a cut of your income forever after.
Loans may be an easy solution for a sticky problem which is available over the counter without the need for a prescription.
But they are a hard pill to swallow and will impose dire consequences on a young nation, which will be shackled for years paying the price of what they enjoyed for only a few hours, days or months at the most.