Pawnshops sprouting up amid surging business

PAWNBROKERS loaned S$1.3bil (RM2.95bil) to Singaporeans last year and the business is surging, so much so that four new shops have opened since January. 

The expansion is the fastest in seven years, making up one-fifth of the 18 that opened shop since 1997. 

More are coming.  

The Registry of Pawnbrokers is processing five new applications, despite each having to sink in S$2mil (RM4.53mil) in paid-up capital before doing business. 

Even Singapore Post wants a piece of the pie and plans to launch two new pawnshops this year. 

At this rate, registry spokesman Wong Lai Yin says, Singapore can expect an average rate of at least three new shops a year compared to one a year a decade ago. 

The pie is growing largely because pawnshops are a quick source of cash, given often for short periods of six months.  

With banks’ stricter loan policies, many people are driven to pawn their possessions when they need cash after losing their jobs. 

The Pawnbrokers Association estimates that of the 2.8 million transactions made by its 81 members, a million are by regulars in need of fast cash. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network  

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