By Rea Cu, May 10 2019; Business Mirror

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The Social Security System (SSS) reported on Thursday that it was able to provide more than P30.5 billion in salary loans for the year 2018, benefiting over 1.8 million of its member-borrowers.

In a news statement, the state-run pension fund pointed out that the total amount of loans extended to member-borrowers represent an increase of 5.3 percent compared to the 2017 level of around P28.8 billion.

“The salary loan acquisition rose to 5.3 percent last year compared with the preceding year. We are glad that we are able to help more of our members on their financial needs in the form of salary loans,” said SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora C. Ignacio.

Broken down, more than 166,000, or 9.22 percent of the 1.8 million loan releases, were through Union Bank of the Philippines’s (UnionBank) Quick Card, which almost tripled compared with the 55,835 releases recorded in 2017.

“Over the years, we have seen that more members opt to receive their salary loan proceeds through electronic means since they do not have to wait for their checks to be delivered to their houses or offices and go personally to the bank to encash the check. We have decided to further expand the program of salary loans through UnionBank Quick Cards by allowing more kiosks in additional branches nationwide,” she added.

There are currently four SSS branches which already have UnionBank Quick Card kiosks, which include, Cubao, San Francisco Del Monte, Marikina, and Binondo, while branches that offer the SSS-UnionBank Quick Card program are Diliman, Makati-Gil Puyat, Pasig Shaw, Makati-Ayala, Kalookan, Mandaluyong, Manila, Alabang, Bacoor, Biñan, Dagupan, Baguio, Cebu, Iloilo, Davao, and Cagayan de Oro.

The SSS-UnionBank Quick Card program is included in the agency’s electronic service facilities which enable members to receive their salary loan proceeds in as little as three days upon loan application approval through automated teller machines. The program was implemented in 2015.

Members who wish to avail of the program must file their loan applications personally at the branches where UnionBank on-site kiosks are stationed.

“With the continuous increase of members availing of the SSS benefits and loan programs, we are committed to develop efficient and convenient options to better serve our members. But we would like to remind our members that these are loans that should be paid religiously and on time to avoid penalties and possible deductions in their final claim like retirement,” Ignacio said.