The Druk Punjab National Bank (PNB) has stopped giving the special education loans for students aspiring to go to Australia.
This comes a few weeks after the Tashi Bank had also stopped the same. T-Bank had to stop its education loan after exceeding the RMA rules that forbids any bank from giving loans in certain sectors above a certain percentage.
According to sources Druk PNB had also recently exceeded this same limit and so automatically stopped the loan.
This happened because after the closure of the T-Bank loan a large number of students rushed to Druk PNB for the loan scheme.
Sources also say that both T-Bank and Druk PNB have applied to the RMA to remove this limit for them as given the nature of the loan they say there is no chance of Non Performing Loans and the loans carry a very low risk.
The RMA is looking at the matter and is in discussion with both the banks. DrukPNB is hoping for RMA to extend the limit so that they can start giving new education loans again.
In the meantime, there are hundreds of anxious students who had hoped to avail of the education loan facility from Druk PNB, but will have to wait for matters to be settled. Some students have got their offer letter from colleges in Australia, but now need the loan to go forward.
Other banks like BoB and BNB do not offer the same schemes yet.
The closure of the loans by T-Bank had led to speculation that the government had somehow stopped the loan to discourage people from going to Australia, but this was strongly denied by the government.
In fact, the Prime Minister Dasho (Dr) Lotay Tshering recently on record said that as per the RMA’s own regulations there is a threshold on various loans and once that is exceeded then the banks have to stop or the RMA can penalize them.
He said its between them and the government is not involved as the RMA is an autonomous body and does not listen to the government.
RMA had already denied the government’s earlier request to lift the loan moratorium on Bhutan Development Bank Limited despite the intervention and requests of both the Prime Minister and Finance Minister.
Lyonchhen had said that T-bank is in discussion with RMA and he opined that breaching the threshold is fine because the loan is low risk in nature. The PM said if the RMA allows then T-bank will start to give the education loan again as the bank is ready to give the loan.
Lyonchhen had also said that its okay for an individual to go to abroad since there are less opportunities in the country right now, and by going abroad they can support their families back home.