Monday 29 May 2023
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PETALING JAYA (Sept 30): As Malaysia transitions into targeted repayment assistance following the end of the six-month blanket loan moratorium today, about 500,000 applications for repayment assistance have been received, said Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).

Of that number, 98% have been approved, the central bank said in a statement today.

The 500,000 applications are merely a sixth of the three million borrowers BNM had anticipated will need help under the targeted loan repayment assistance, which begins tomorrow.

The central bank also noted that “there also continues to be a steady increase in borrowers choosing to resume payment of their monthly instalments”.

“For applications that are still being processed, banks have provided their commitment to inform borrowers of the application results as soon as possible. BNM will closely monitor banks’ practices in this regard. Borrowers facing difficulties with their banks can contact BNMTELELINK at [email protected],” it said.

BNM advised borrowers who can afford to resume monthly repayments to do so, as this would reduce their overall debt and borrowing costs.

“Although broader economic conditions are improving, some borrowers may still face repayment challenges if their circumstances change in the coming months. If this happens, borrowers can still engage their banks to discuss alternative repayment arrangements. During this period, banks will continue to offer various forms of repayment assistance to borrowers,” it stated.

It gave its assurance that applications for repayment assistance made before June 30, 2021 will also not appear on a borrower’s CCRIS records.

“Borrowers may also seek guidance and explore alternative options for assistance with AKPK (Agensi Kaunseling & Pengurusan Kredit),” it added.

BNM said the banking sector remains committed to helping households and businesses who need assistance after the automatic moratorium ends.

“To this end, banks have introduced a range of packages for affected borrowers. These include targeted extension of the moratorium, as well as repayment flexibilities to help borrowers based on their specific financial situation,” it said.

Borrowers who have lost their jobs this year and are still unemployed will be able to freeze loan repayments by a further three months, while borrowers whose salaries have been cut due to Covid-19 will be offered reduced loan instalments in proportion to their salary reduction, depending on the type of financing.

“This targeted approach ensures that more resources are available to assist those who are vulnerable. It also enables the banking sector to better support the broader economy through continued lending,” said the central bank.

BNM said banks have been actively reaching out to borrowers in various ways and have simplified steps, enabled applications online, and extended their branch operating hours, including through weekends.

So far, individual banks have engaged with over two million borrowers via calls, emails and SMS to offer repayment help, it added.

It was reported that as at July 24, Malaysia’s blanket moratorium had benefited 7.7 million individuals (or 93% of individual borrowers) and 243,000 SME borrowers (or 95% of total SME borrowers).

Edited ByLam Jian Wyn
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