The Social Security System (SSS) has cut down its interest rates and raised the maximum amount of its housing loans to help members gain wider access to decent shelter at affordable terms, a top official said.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio de Quiros, Jr. said members can now borrow up to P2 million, which is double the amount offered in the past, while annual interest rates were reduced by as much as five percent.

“The revised guidelines aim to align SSS housing loan programs to current industry practices. Our longer payment terms and fixed interest rates also make SSS loans competitive to lending facilities offered by other institutions such as banks,” he said.

The new interest rates for individual members are pegged at eight percent per annum for loan grants of up to P400,000; nine percent for up to P1 million; ten percent for up to P1.5 million; and 11 percent for up to P2 million. Interest rates are fixed for a period of 15 years.

Employees, self-employed individuals and overseas Filipino workers with at least 36 contributions, including 24 months of continuous payment of premiums, and have no retirement or total disability claims can borrow. They and their spouse must have no delinquent SSS loans.

“We also increased the P300,000 limit on House Repair and Improvement loans to P1 million. Among those who will benefit are members whose homes were damaged by natural calamities and families who want to expand or renovate their house,” de Quiros said.

SSS lowered its 14 percent interest rate to 11 percent for entrepreneurs and developers of subdivisions, condominiums and other residential properties. To be eligible, employers must have current contribution and loan payments and a record of profitability for the last three years.

“Applications for SSS housing loans are coursed through participating financial institutions. Interested borrowers of House Repair and Improvement Loans, OFWs and trade union members can apply directly at any SSS branch,” he said.

The maximum term is 30 years for Individual Loans; 15 years for OFW Loans; 20 years for Apartment, Dormitory, House Repair and Improvement Loans; and five years for Development Loans. Borrowers aged 60 at the time of application will have a maximum loan term of five years.