Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has announced that it will transfer the Small Debt Resolution Scheme (SDRS) function to the Credit Management Counselling Agency (AKPK), effective from 1 September 2020. This handover will see AKPK expanding its debt restructuring and advisory services to not just individuals who are in need, but also SMEs and micro SMEs.
“With this transfer, AKPK will serve as the one stop platform for both individuals and SMEs seeking debt restructuring services, as well as financial education and advisory,” said BNM in a joint statement.
The central bank added that AKPK is well-positioned to take on this function due to its vast experience and expertise in assisting financially distressed individuals manage their finances through its Debt Management Programme. Additionally, the agency played a key role in strengthening the financial capability of Malaysians through other financial and counselling programmes.
To clarify, the SDRS is a facility established by BNM in 2003 to help SMEs that have difficulties servicing their debts with multiple financial institutions, allowing them to negotiate and resolve problems with their banks without resorting to legal recourse. Primarily, the SDRS helps by facilitating the restructuring or rescheduling of existing financing facilities, although it could also suggest new financing where appropriate. To date, the SDRS has helped more than 1,200 SMEs in rescheduling and restructuring their business financing, amounting to a total of RM1.7 billion.
With the SDRS soon to be under the jurisdiction of the AKPK, SMEs in need of financial advice can easily access the facility through AKPK’s online channels and network of 12 branches nationwide. This is especially beneficial as the automatic moratorium draws closer to its deadline in September 2020; the SDRS under AKPK will be an additional avenue for SMEs to obtain help and advice on debt restructuring and rescheduling, complementing the ongoing efforts of the banking industry.
SME owners in need of financial advice can head on over to AKPK’s website to find out more starting from 1 September 2020.