ABM: Banks To Continue Providing Aid For Affected Borrowers During FMCO
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The Association of Banks in Malaysia (ABM) has reassured borrowers that its member banks will continue to offer financial assistance to those who are affected by the ongoing total lockdown (FMCO).

In a statement, ABM acknowledged the concerns of borrowers and businesses that will be affected by the temporary halt to their activities in light of recent developments. “ABM would like to assure the public that its member banks, which comprise the conventional commercial banks, will continue to make available financial assistance to all affected borrowers who are in need of such assistance,” it said.

ABM also highlighted that its member banks have been providing financial assistance to borrowers since 1 October 2020 through the targeted repayment assistance (TRA) programme that was put in place. Following Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin’s recent announcement of the PEMERKASA+ stimulus package, however, the TRA programme will see some updates.

To begin, individual customers who have lost their employment are eligible for either of the following assistance under the PEMERKASA+ stimulus package:

  • Loan deferment (moratorium) for 3 months
  • 50% reduction in monthly instalment payments for 6 months

Additionally, those who suffer from a reduction in income (including household income) will be eligible too. B40 borrowers registered under the Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH)/Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR) programme and microenterprises with loan facilities not exceeding RM150,000 are also eligible for this specific repayment assistance.

On top of these, ABM said that the TRA programme has now also been expanded to include all small and medium businesses (SMEs) that are not permitted to operate during the FMCO.

“All affected borrowers (individuals, microenterprises and SMEs) who wish to avail of this latest TRA only need to contact their respective banks to indicate which option they want to choose. The banks will automatically approve all selections by borrowers that fulfil the criteria stated above,” said ABM. Meanwhile, all other affected borrowers not eligible for the latest TRA programme can tap into customised rescheduling and restructuring schemes instead.

ABM further stated that its member banks are committed to making it convenient for borrowers to apply for the assistance package that they need. As such, they have simplified the process. “In most cases, borrowers should be able to make the selection online or over the phone. Borrowers may also do so at bank branches, but are advised to check on their respective banks’ websites for information on any changes in operating hours or arrangements for over-the-counter services in view of the continuing restrictions owing to the pandemic,” it said, adding that borrowers can visit ABM’s website for information as well.

ABM also took the opportunity to remind borrowers that their central credit reference information system (CCRIS) records will not be affected by the TRA programme received this year, which means that their future credit profile will not be impacted. As such, all impacted borrowers are urged to reach out to their respective banks to discuss the best options that are available to them.

Aside from that, ABM highlighted the availability of the Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) to assist both individual borrowers and microenterprises in need of help, including offering advice, guidance, and options for debt restructuring. In particular, microenterprises can seek for aid through KPK’s dedicated micro business helpdesk, which offers free financial advice and facilitates applications for repayment assistance.

Finally, ABM noted that as of 26 March 2021, banks have received 1.6 million applications for the TRA programme, with a 95% rate of approval.

(Sources: ABM, The Star)

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