The federal government has changed the rules for contracting payroll loans linked to Auxílio Brasil, to reduce any damage they may cause to beneficiaries of the program, which will once again be called Bolsa Família. They were published this Thursday (9) in an ordinance of the Ministry of Development and Social Assistance, Family and Fight against Hunger.
The new rules set at 5% the limit for discounting the benefit paid to beneficiary families of Bolsa Família or other programs for the payment of payroll. The old rule, from the government of Jair Bolsonaro (PL), authorized a 40% discount on R$ 400 in aid.
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That is, before, a beneficiary of the Auxílio Brasil could take out a loan linked to the benefit and pay it in installments of up to R$160. Now, the maximum installment can reach R$30, if the new fixed value of the benefit is considered: R $600.
The new rule also determines that the loan can be discounted in up to six installments. Before, it could be paid in 24.
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Finally, the government lowered the maximum interest that banks can charge on this type of credit: from 3.5% per month to up to R$ 2.5% per month.
INSS retirees and pensioners take out loans with interest of up to 2.14% per month.
And in practice?
Economist Miguel de Oliveira, executive director of the National Association of Finance, Administration and Accounting Executives (Anefac), said that, with the changes, beneficiaries of the Brazil Aid will be able to take out lower loans.
Before, credits exceeded R$ 2 thousand. Now, it will be around R$ 150.
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They will also be paid off more quickly and, therefore, will not be such a serious cause of indebtedness for poorer families.
“I saw the change positively because it avoids indebtedness”, said Miguel, who has been critical of the payroll loan proposal linked to Auxílio Brasil since it appeared.
“It seems to me like a harm reduction ordinance”, said Denise De Sordi. “The ordinance acts to discourage the loan from taking place.”
She has also always been against the loan linked to social benefits because the emergency income is aimed at guaranteeing the minimum livelihood.
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De Sordi recalled that the text does not change rules for loans already contracted, which goes against expectations of amnesty for debtors. Still, it’s positive.
In October 2022 alone, the month in which the Auxílio Brasil payroll was released, around BRL 5.2 billion were lent by banks. This indicates that around 2.6 million people took out loans, considering that each one was R$ 2 thousand.
Caixa Econômica Federal, a state-owned bank, was the one that lent the most. After the election, suspended the line.
“It was a necessary measure due to the profile of the borrower and the threat to the income transfer program, being transformed into a political bargaining chip for the benefit of the banking sector”, ratified the economist and coordinator of the Financial Services Program of the Brazilian Institute of Consumer Defense (Idec), Ione Amorim.
Editing: Rodrigo Durão Coelho
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