Debt Service Ratio

Debt Service Ratio

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If you have been to a bank to apply for a loan to start your business, you might have noticed that before granting you the loan the banker will do calculations and discuss your debt service ratios.

Debt service ratio is a strong deciding factor before your loan gets approved.

This is to determine your creditworthiness whereby every record from your profession to the credit history will be taken into account.

What is a debt service ratio (DSR)?

In the simple sense, DSR measures the ability of a person to settle their obligation to the debt.

It is the ratio of a person’s total debt to their household income. DSR is one of the three prime components to evaluate your risk profile.

The other factors which are taken into consideration by the bank are:

1) Maximum LTV (Loan-to-Value) / Margin of Finance available to you

2) Evaluation of your property

3) CTOS AND CCRIS report

How will DSR affect your loan eligibility?

In Malaysia, applying for a loan is not favourable if the DSR exceeds 70%.

Banks will use the DSR to determine:

  • What percentage of your monthly income will be used to pay off the debts? and
  • Whether you can afford to take up the loan, you are applying for. 

If you have a low Debt Service Ratio, your loan application is most likely to be accepted as it means that you can easily pay back your loans and there is lesser risk of default payments.

The chances are high that your loan application will get approved if your DSR comes within the maximum allowable limit of the bank.

Ideally, DSR should be kept within a range of 30% – 40%, but this is not a strict limit as certain banks allow a DSR limit of 50% while others even up to 80%.

DSR limit varies according to various individuals and their respective levels of net income.

DSR Calculation 

Debt Service Ratio can be calculated by the following formula.

DSR= (Loan you are applying + total monthly commitments)/Net income x100

Thus, in short, DSR is the net income (after EPF and income tax deductions) divided by the total monthly commitments.

You might be wondering, what exactly defines a commitment?

From the perspective of DSR, this includes all non-bank and bank debts.

Bank debt: Car loans, personal loans, credit card bills 

Non-bank debt: This includes monthly repayments such as student loans, PTPN etc.

When it comes to income, banks only look at your net income after all the deductions such as taxes, SOCSO, EPF and so on.

To have a better understanding of DSR, let us take this example.

Let’s suppose your net income is RM7,000 a month, and your overall monthly commitments add up to RM1,000.

You are trying to get a loan with a monthly repayment of RM1,500.

Now RM2,000 + RM1,500 = 3,500.

If you divide this amount by your net income, i.e. 3500/7000=0.50

To find the percentage multiply it by 100, which will be 0.50×100=50%. This is a safe zone to apply for a loan.

Total monthly income(Net income)

Gross income = RM8,000 (Basic Pay+Allowance)

SOCSO Deduction: RM50

EPF Deduction: RM550

Tax Deduction: RM400

Monthly Net Income: RM7,000

Total commitments in a month

Car Loan: RM700

PTPTN Loan: RM100

Credit Card: RM200

Personal Loan: RM1,000

Total Monthly Commitments: RM2,000 

DSR (without loan): (RM2,000/RM7,000) x 100% = 28.5%

With new housing loan repayment of RM1,200:

DSR (with loan): (RM3,700/RM7,000) x 100% = 52.85%

Why is DSR Important?

The Debt Service Ratio is important for two main reasons:

1) It shows how healthy your cash flow is.

2) It is one of the prime determining factors which will ascertain whether you are eligible for a loan or not.

The Debt service ratio is a great way to monitor your financial success and earnings. By doing a calculation of DSR before putting forth a loan application, you will know whether or not you qualify to get a loan in the first place.

A high DSR indicates that you could get a loan from the bank with fewer hassles.

On the other hand, a low DSR indicates that you have trouble with your cash flow.

For banks and lenders, DSR is one of the main indicators while reviewing your loan application.

Some of the benefits of high DSR include:

  • Higher possibility for getting a loan.
  • Most likely to receive a good payment.
  • Shows the financier that you have a greater cash flow.
  • Helps to gain the banker’s confidence that you have the capability to pay back the loan in proper time.

How to improve my DSR?

The following are some essential tips that you need to consider in order to improve your debt service ration:

1. Always pay on time

Make sure to pay your credit card statements and bills at the proper time. A small unpaid amount can blow up into a mammoth-sized debt, so always make sure not to have any leftovers.

2. Reduce your debt

If you have many debts from different sources, it will have a direct hit on your DSR. In such a case, the best idea will be to pay it off as soon as possible. 

You could consolidate your debt into one loan, thereby simplifying the payment instead of running behind several deadlines.

3. Cut down on usage

One of the best ways to ensure a better DSR is to cut down on the usage of credit cards and loans to the maximum possible extent, especially if you are a person who spends onimpulse.

Where can I find details of my commitments?

Your monthly commitments will include credit card bills, loans you have taken, PTPTN loans and so on.

The easiest way of tracking all these records will be through CCRIS.

CCRIS is a centralized database which gives a clear picture of your financial health.

Bank Negara Malaysia is regularly updated with details of your financial information from places such as 

  • Financial institutions
  • Payment instrument issuers
  • Government agencies
  • Private utility companies
  • Banks
  • Credit leasing companies
  • Insurance providers

This will help banks and other financial institutions to assess your financial health to evaluate your loan application.

The Bank Negara Malaysia helps financial institutions by providing credible reports to take effective lending decisions.     

What is included in the CCRIS report?

CCRIS reports provide effective and accurate reports of a potential borrower. The information includes

Credit applications

This includes all the pending applications for credit which have been approved within the last 12 months.        

Accounts for special attention

This refers to pending loans that are flagged by banks or other financial institutions. These accounts require special monitoring and means to recover the borrowed money.

Outstanding credit

This includes the past history of loans and credits obtained by the borrower, including those which are related to joint loans.

Who has access to CCRIS reports in Malaysia?

Once an application for request has been made, BNM provides the CCRIS reports to the relevant parties. This includes:

  1. Individuals: Who requests their own credit report
  2. Financial institutions: Who makes an appropriate request to the BNM
  3. Companies: Who requests their own financial reports
  4. Registered credit agencies: With the prior consent of the borrower

How to apply for my CCRIS report?       

Before applying for a loan or making any important financial decisions, it will be a great idea to review your CCRIS report.

You could get your report through the following means:

CCRIS Online: The eCCRIS service is a great platform online where you could gain secure access to your CCRIS report when you need it. 

Although this service is free, it requires initial registration through BNM Malaysia.

Once the registration is successful, you can check your report through the online portal.

In-person: A CCRIS report containing all your credit and financial information can be gained in person through a regional or the head office of BNM.

You should submit the filled application form along with a copy of MyKad and supporting documents such as a driving license or passport.

Another simpler method is by using a kiosk at any of the branches of Bank Negara Malaysia.

You have to insert your MyKad into the kiosk and place your finger to verify your thumb impression. Once your identity has been verified, you could get a printed copy of your CCRIS report.

Bottom Line

DSR is a great tool for companies and individuals alike to plan their finances to minimize the debt they owe.

You could follow some of the tips like:

  • Trying to reduce your DSR within a range of 30-40%.
  • If you are applying for a loan, try to know the maximum allowable limit of the bank before applying.

Finally, do not panic if you have a DSR of more than 50%. Having a good credit score will help you a lot in gaining the trust of financial organizations.

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