Published: 12 February 2015
Irene Ng Phek Hoong: asked the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs whether the Ministry can work with banks to open a bank account for prisoners who are due to leave the prison given that a bank account is often necessary for them to find jobs and receive a salary as well as to keep re-offending rates down.
Mr Teo Chee Hean:
1. We are aware that some inmates and ex-offenders may have difficulties in opening bank accounts as they are unable to meet the minimum deposit requirements set by banks in opening a bank account, immediately upon release. Some may be turned away by banks as they are deemed to be a credit risk. In such cases, the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE) would work with employers to make alternative arrangements such as to issue their salaries in cash or cash cheque in the first month of employment. This would allow the ex-offenders to build up their cash savings to reach the minimum deposit amount required and improve their credit rating. This would help to overcome any impediment that not having a bank account for such reasons would present in securing a job.
2. Nonetheless, I agree with Ms Irene Ng that having a bank account would make it more convenient for both employers and ex-offenders and would like to thank her for the suggestion. The Singapore Prison Service (SPS) and SCORE will work with the banks on the possibility of temporarily waiving the minimum deposit requirements for such ex-offenders and other facilitative measures during the transitional period after their release.