by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic by MZUKRI MOHAMAD
OF INDIVIDUALS who requested repayment assistance to date, about 50% have a monthly income of RM5,000 or less, while 28% are those with a monthly income of between RM5,000 and RM10,000, according to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).
As at Oct 9, 40% were granted an extension of the moratorium consisting mainly of individuals who have been recently made unemployed, as well as businesses in sectors that may still be experiencing significant operating constraints caused by the pandemic.
BNM revealed that banks received more than 640,000 applications for repayment assistance with an approval rate of around 98%.
It said 60% received a reduction in instalments — including borrowers in the bottom 40% (B40) income group — so that individuals and SMEs can start paying down their loans at levels which they are comfortable with.
BNM also said in a statement yesterday that 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.
BNM assured borrowers that repayment assistance will remain available for those whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic.
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.
“The scale of targeted repayment assistance is unprecedented in Malaysia’s banking history. 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 and borrowers affected by movement restrictions,” it said.
The central bank said a targeted approach to repayment assistance extends relief measures more sustainably, while lending strength to the economic recovery.
It noted that many borrowers are now able and have started 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 will have more recent repayment records to facilitate further assistance by banks,” it said.
BNM said 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.
It 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 added.
Additionally, those unable to have face-to-face engagements or furnish documents due to movement restrictions can contact their banks via website, phone or email.