Repayment assistance available for those affected by Covid-19, says BNM

Bank Negara Malaysia has assured borrowers that repayment assistance will remain available for borrowers whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Bank Negara Malaysia has assured borrowers that repayment assistance will remain available for borrowers whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 19 — Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has assured borrowers that repayment assistance will remain available for borrowers whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic.

The central bank said that depending on their circumstances, borrowers facing challenges have generally requested for reductions in monthly repayment instalments or an extension of the moratorium.

“Borrowers who declined repayment assistance for now would still be able to apply for targeted assistance throughout 2020 and into 2021 if their financial circumstances change in the future,” it said in a statement today.

It added that the scale of targeted repayment assistance is unprecedented in Malaysia’s banking history as assistance continues to be offered to borrowers across a range of income groups, with special consideration given to households from the B40 category, micro businesses as well as borrowers affected by movement restrictions.

“A targeted approach to repayment assistance extends relief measures more sustainably, while lending strength to the economic recovery,” it said.

BNM said that many borrowers are now able and have started to resume repayments, and for this group, resuming repayments would be in their interest as this would reduce the overall cost of borrowings.

“Borrowers who require assistance at this time have the opportunity to customise their repayment plans based on what they can afford. If their circumstances are further challenged in the future, they would have more recent repayment records to facilitate further assistance by banks,” it said.

The central bank also said that the financial resources of the banking system can be prioritised to help those most affected by Covid-19 and as more borrowers who can afford to repay do so, more assistance can be made available to borrowers that need it.

BNM has also urged affected borrowers to come forward to apply for repayment assistance with their banks through the various channels available.

“Banks are required to respond to applications for targeted repayment assistance within five days for individual borrowers and within 14 days for small and medium enterprise (SME) borrowers. Borrowers who do not receive a response from their banks within these time frames should contact BNMTELELINK (bnm.my/RAsurvey),” it said.

The central bank said that borrowers affected by any Conditional Movement Control Order or Enhanced Movement Control Order can expect a prompt and seamless process even as banks in affected areas continue to operate under appropriate standard operating procedures.

“Those unable to have face-to-face engagements or furnish documents due to movement restrictions can contact their banks via website, phone or email,” it said, adding that the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) also stands ready to provide the necessary advice and assistance to both individual and SME borrowers, including options for debt restructuring.

The central bank also said that more than 640,000 applications for repayment assistance have been received, with an approval rate of around 98 per cent. Forty per cent were granted an extension of the moratorium and 60 per cent received a reduction in instalments.

Among individuals who requested repayment assistance to date, about 50 per cent have a monthly income of RM5,000 or less while 28 per cent are those with a monthly income of between RM5,000 and RM10,000.

“Borrowers in other segments who need assistance are also being supported, including those who earn variable incomes, and those employed in sectors that have been hardest hit such as the tourism sector,” it said.

BNM also said that applications for repayment assistance at any time before June 30, 2021, will also not appear on a borrower’s Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS) records.

“There are no processing fees/charges associated with applications for repayment assistance for individual and SME borrowers. To obtain targeted assistance, borrowers need to apply directly to their respective banks,” it said. — Bernama

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