ABM supportive of moratorium move, working out details

by TMR/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE Association of Banks in Malaysia (ABM) said it is currently working out the full details of the proposed six-month moratorium on loan repayments proposals to ensure it will be efficiently executed with minimum inconvenience to customers.

In a statement yesterday, ABM said it is fully supportive of proactive measures announced by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to mitigate the economic impact caused by the ongoing Covid-19 virus outbreak globally.

As a summary, ABM members will grant effective April 1, 2020, an automatic extension of credit facilities in existence today for a period of six months to retail (excluding credit cards) and small and medium enterprises.

“While interest will accrue during this moratorium period, there will be no payment of interest and principal required for credit facilities for the six-month period,” it said.

As for the segments other than these, the moratorium will apply on a case-to-case basis and customers should be in touch with their bankers to discuss the specific relief sought.

“We have from the outset been in discussion with BNM on possible measures that can be taken to address the impact of Covid-19, particularly looking at how borrowers can be provided relief even as the government focuses on combating the spread of the virus and ensure the country’s economic growth is sustained,” the statement read.

“Recognising that the current situation is of a health issue, which is affecting the behaviour and confidence of consumers and corporates, the banking industry believes that there needs to be unique solutions applied in this instance.”

It added that ABM member banks are in full agreement of the intent of the moratorium announced by BNM, as the association believes it is a necessary solution at this point.

“The measures announced have been designed not only to support customers in this highly unusual global environment, but also to ensure that banks can continue to play their role in sustaining the country’s economy. We hope it will provide customers some breathing space and allow them to focus on other critical aspects of their livelihoods at this time,” ABM chairman and Malayan Banking Bhd group CEO Datuk Abdul Farid Alias (picture) said in the same statement.

ABM noted that Malaysia is in unchartered territory and this is an unprecedented catastrophe affecting the entire world and that unconventional approaches would need to be taken to address the impact.