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Why do women take loans from the bank?

Saudi Arabia, August 12, 2017

A LARGE number of women are applying for bank loans for different reasons, according to a number of banking officials interviewed by Al-Riyadh daily.

Naseem Al-Kharss, a bank branch manager, said most women who apply for loans do so for family and personal reasons. Some of them want to help their husbands build the dream home while some take loans to buy a car for their sons; yet, some take loans to have their houses renovated.

“Rarely would women take a bank loan to spend it on vacation abroad. The majority of them resort to this option to help their family members get over a financial burden and are ready to take the risk of failure to repay the loan,” Al-Khrass noted.

In fact, few women take loans for investment reasons; however, women in general stay away from risky investment projects. The average amount of a loan, which most women take is SR300,000 and over, based on their monthly salary and income. Over the past years, the average has stayed at SR200,000 due to the ongoing economic conditions.

“We have a few female customers who take a loan in the summer every year and spend it on vacation but most of them repay the loan on time. However, those who fail to pay are referred to collection agents who will have them repay the loan installments gradually,” she explained, adding that the bank only gives loans to women who work in the public sector to ensure repayment on time.


Nojood Al-Bahrani, a former bank manager, said women take loans for various reasons. For example, some buy jewels while some travel abroad on vacation and some to help their own parents repay a debt.

“The maximum amount of the loan a woman can take depends on her monthly salary. The bank usually applies strict measures for loans taken for investment reasons such as a beauty center or salon,” she said.

Female schoolteachers account for the largest number of women who take bank loans, followed by nurses. Most banks are reluctant to clear the loan applications if the female applicant works in the private sector, especially if the applicant cannot submit sufficient repayment guarantees.

Various reasons

Amjad J., a school teacher, had to take loans several times over the past five years in order to help her husband provide for the family.

“My husband’s monthly salary is low and barely gets us by every month. All the loans I have taken over the past period were spent on my children and our home renovation. I have never taken a loan to buy something I want or to spend a vacation abroad. I am glad I can help my husband provide for our family,” she said.

Anfal Salah, a private sector employee, said she has taken bank loans more than once to help her mother.

“I took a loan to help my mother bear my brother’s wedding expenses and repaid the loan on time. I think most women take loans to make their family members happy. I personally do not see it as a sacrifice as much as a duty I should fulfill. I have to be a responsible woman. I am happy that I help my mother pay the salaries of the housemaid and the driver,” she said.