A 39-year-old Filipino woman who has been a domestic worker in Singapore for the past 15 years has allegedly utilized her own savings and lent part the money to compatriots at a monthly interest rate of up to 20%.

The maid, who wished to be referred to as Anna, would appear on Orchard Road every Sunday, issuing “micro loans” to compatriots, Lianhe Wanbao (Singapore) reported.

Three years ago Anna witnessed her compatriots borrowing emergency cash from loan sharks. The lucrative business encouraged her to become a moneylender herself by using her monthly salary of S$800 (US$600) and savings.

She said each time she would only lend S$300 to fellow Filipino maids, who would be charged a monthly interest rate of 20%.

The maid turned moneylender insisted that she would only lend to maids who had true financial needs, particularly those with families in trouble in the Philippines.

Though Anna was using her savings to help others, many other maids have allegedly been handing out cash on behalf of illegal moneylenders.

John Gee of the non-profit organization Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) said employers should be more understanding of their maids and consider paying salaries in advance if their workers’ families were truly undergoing financial difficulties.

Another non-profit organization, the Humanitarian Organization of Migrant Economics (HOME), said it had received a number of inquiries from foreign domestic workers on what they should do after borrowing from moneylenders or even loan sharks.