The federal government intends to launch a new microcredit program aimed at negative people – people registered in the registers of debtors – through the Caixa Econômica Federal. The initiative, which was articulated between bank technicians and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, would use FGTS funds as collateral for loans, which has sparked controversy.
The fund was originally created to protect workers made redundant without just cause and to finance investments in housing and infrastructure, mainly sanitation. In recent years, mortgage transactions with fund funds have seen growth in default rates.
Since September, Caixa has already offered a loan service of up to R$1,000 at 3.99% per month, but inaccessible to those whose name appears in credit protection services. To widen the public, the government wants to create a guarantee fund for possible losses.
Although having a public management, the FGTS is a financial fund of a private nature, so that when using its resources, the government would not need to create a new expenditure in the budget which could jeopardize the expenditure ceiling.
In the newspaper O Globo, members of the government said that the idea was to use R$13 billion from the FGTS as collateral, and that loans should range from R$500 to R$15,000. The capital used would make it possible to grant up to 67.5 billion reais in microcredit operations. The estimated audience would be 20 million people.
Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Onyx Lorenzoni, and President of La Caixa, Pedro Guimarães, spoke about the proposal at the end of November, during an event organized by the Brazilian Chamber of the Construction Industry (CBIC) , in Brasília.
As in the current microcredit modality, the loan must be contracted exclusively by mobile phone, through the Caixa Tem application. ” What is the point ? Provide sustainability conditions to these 26 million [de informais]
that we have found, that they are moving towards formalization,” Lorenzoni said. The launch of the program should take place in a few weeks, he said.
The model would be similar to the National Support Program for Micro and Small Enterprises (Pronampe), created to deal with the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, the government allocated 37.5 billion reais from the Treasury to the Operations Guarantee Fund (FGO), with the aim of covering up to 85% of losses with the program.
“What we are talking about, and it will have an impact, is that we are creating a guarantee fund for microcredit, as there is for Pronampe,” Guimarães said. “By making this guarantee, we will be able to lend to those who are negative, which we cannot do today,” he explained. “And these people borrow, only they borrow from the usurer.”
The president of La Caixa pointed out that today those with a dirty name can only access lines of credit in institutions that charge fees of 15% to 20% per month. “That is why there is a generation, in fact, of income [com o programa]he said, although he did not give details of how much would be expected to be charged for the loan. “When you lower the interest rate, you lower the monthly installment the person is going to pay, so you have more money left over or – what is the reality – you can borrow more.”
In addition to the 13 billion reais from the FGTS, up to 500 million reais would come from the Guarantee Fund for Micro and Small Enterprises (Fampe) of the Brazilian Support Service for Micro and Small Enterprises (Sebrae). At the same event that Lorenzoni and Guimarães attended, Sebrae president Carlos Melles said he was excited about the initiative.
The FGTS Board of Directors was not consulted on the use of resources
Responsible for the management and administration of the FGTS, the Board of Directors of the Fund was not consulted or informed of the studies by the government. At the last collegiate meeting, held on December 14, Councilor Maria Henriqueta Arantes Ferreira Alves, who represents the National Confederation of Industry (CNI), said she was surprised by the proposal, which she learned about through the press. .
She pointed out that the group has articulated with parliamentarians the removal from the agenda of projects that foresee the use of FGTS resources in order to preserve the fund.
“To my surprise I see in the press that the government itself is investigating – I don’t know what grade it is because it hasn’t been raised to Council or GAP [Grupo de Apoio Permanente] – use part of the resources of the FGTS to create a guarantee fund to provide microcredits to negative people. How are we, the board of directors, going to defend not to impact the FGTS with measures that come from Parliament, which are often motivated by an element that the worker needs? he asked.
“As we have already taken balloons in the back, from certain services [de
recursos do FGTS] on a provisional basis, we have concluded a pact with the government so that it respects the council, ”said the adviser, addressing Romulo Machado e Silva, representative of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, who chaired the session. . “We can’t get that kind of information from the press.”
The presiding officer said he would take the matter to the ministry, “underlining the commitment [pelo governo] in this council. He said the program is still under development and it has not been decided whether the funds to guarantee the loans will come from the FGTS. “The information I have is that the government is studying these microcredit measures which are not new. It has been going on since 2019, but there is still no definition of how these guarantee funds will be, whether they are through FGTS or not.
Deputy Paulo Pereira da Silva (Solidariedade-SP), fired president of Força Sindical, said his party could sue the Federal Supreme Court (STF) if the project materializes. “This is absurd. The government wants to give alms with other people’s hats. I don’t know if that would have legal support because the FGTS money belongs to the workers,” the parliamentarian told O Globo newspaper.
For Gazeta do Povo, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs said, in a note, that the details of the initiative are still being analyzed.
“The government has conducted studies to launch a program to strengthen microcredit in the country, giving priority to entrepreneurship and the generation of work and income. The format of the program, the target audience and the legal instruments to be used in its regulation have been discussed at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and will be disclosed in due course,” the ministry text reads.
Caixa was also contacted, but did not return the contact made by Gazeta do Povo.
Failure to finance real estate with FGTS resources has been increasing since 2018, according to BC
As the main source of financing for the country’s social housing programmes, the FGTS has already faced an increase in default rates or the renegotiation of deferred maturities for mortgage loans over the past three years.
“There has been a significant increase in the materialization of risk for lending with FGTS resources,” the Central Bank said in its latest financial stability report. According to the document, in the real estate financing scenario for individuals in general, there has been a decline in so-called problem assets. “However, such movement is not observed in accordance with the resources of the FGTS.”
From December 2018 to June 2021, the total problem assets of the line of credit with FGTS resources increased by 88.8%. The default rate rose from 1.44% to 2.38%, while debt restructurings over 60 days past due rose from 2.9% to 4.6%. Since October 2019, the percentage of trades with a risk rating between E and H has doubled, from 0.4% to 0.8%.