Parliamentary Replies
Published Date: 22 November 2023

Written reply to Parliamentary Question on household and individual debt trends and management

Date: For Parliament Sitting on 22 November 2023

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Saktiandi Supaat, MP, Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC


To ask the Prime Minister (a) over the last five years, what has been the trend of (i) household and (ii) individual debts; (b) in each of the last five years, what is the breakdown of the number of debtors by (i) types of non-performing loans (ii) income levels (iii) age and (iv) ethnicity; and (c) what more can be done to get debtors out of debt as soon as possible.

Answer by Mr Lawrence Wong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, and Chairman of MAS:

1.  In dollar terms, the aggregate household debt increased by 5% over the past five years.  But, as a percentage of GDP, it decreased from 70% five years ago to 56% today. Household debt also decreased from 1.4 times of personal disposable income (PDI) five years ago to 1.2 times PDI today.

2. Household and individual credit quality has remained healthy. As of Q2 2023, non-performing loan (NPL) ratios for housing loans and other loans to individuals have remained low and stable over the past year at about 0.2% and 0.6% of total loans, respectively.

3. MAS does not collect data from financial institutions (FIs) on their individual debtors by age, income levels, or ethnicity, as requested by the Member.

4. Granular information on individual debts is available from the Consumer Credit Index report published by Credit Bureau Singapore. Its latest published data on mortgage, credit card and motor vehicle loans show stable delinquency and default rates across age groups over the past three years.

5. The overall household debt situation in Singapore has remained manageable. Nonetheless, there are pockets of vulnerable borrowers who may come under strain if economic conditions worsen. Borrowers in distress can seek help from various avenues. Those who have taken unsecured debts with FIs may sign up for the Debt Consolidation Plan, which is offered by participating FIs. The plan enables borrowers to restructure and consolidate their debt. Borrowers can also approach Credit Counselling Singapore, which offers debt management guidance and has helped distressed borrowers to work out sustainable debt repayment plans. Borrowers in mortgage loan arrears can similarly approach their FIs to seek assistance and explore potential loan restructuring solutions.