KUALA LUMPUR – Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) said that it has been working with the banking industry to fine-tune the delivery of targeted repayment assistance.
The Central Bank noted that for M40 borrowers who are registered in the Bantuan Prihatin Nasional database, and whose household incomes have been reduced due to the pandemic, banks will accept requests from borrowers for a reduction in monthly instalments.
“This will be based on borrowers’ self-declaration of reduced income and/or their household to further expedite immediate relief. Banks will continue to engage with such borrowers subsequently to review their financial circumstances,” BNM said in a statement on November 6.
The assistance will be extended for facilities approved before October 1, which are not in arrears for more than 90 days at the time a borrower requests for repayment assistance.
“B40 and microenterprise borrowers who previously received other forms of targeted repayment assistance and who wish to request for further assistance under the additional measures announced today can still do so by contacting their banks,” said the Central Bank.
Targeted repayment assistance will continue to be available for affected borrowers throughout 2020 and 2021.
In addition to contacting banks, an additional avenue will be made available for microenterprises to request for repayment assistance through the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency’s (AKPK) dedicated micro business helpdesk starting November 9 at www.akpk.org.my/microhelpdesk.
The virtual helpdesk provides free financial advice and facilitates applications for repayment assistance, said BNM.
The Central Bank said for individual borrowers requesting to reduce their instalments, practices across banks have been streamlined to take into account not only the borrower’s own income but also how the income of his or her spouse has been affected by the pandemic.
“This is already practised by most banks and has now been adopted by all banks to allow for more holistic assessments of a borrower’s financial situation.
“These new enhancements build on existing efforts adopted by banks to better accommodate the exceptional challenges faced by borrowers,” it added.
BNM also reassured borrowers facing financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic that repayment assistance remains available to individuals across all income groups and small and medium enterprises of all sizes that need assistance.
For many borrowers, assistance that is tailored to their specific circumstances will be more helpful to support their current and future needs, it added.
Despite ongoing measures to contain COVID-19, the Central Bank said the resumption of economic activities has enabled many borrowers to resume paying down their debt with around 85% of borrowers currently have started making their monthly instalments.
“For borrowers who can afford to do so, this is in their best interest as reducing or deferring instalments will lead to the higher overall debt, due to the continued accrual of interest which borrowers eventually have to bear in the future.
“At the same time, borrowers who still face financial challenges will continue to be supported through targeted repayment assistance which allows them to make informed decisions based on their own financial management needs and goals,” said BNM.
It also urged borrowers who face difficulties meeting their loan repayments to contact their banks, AKPK or BNMTELELINK to understand the options available to help them manage their debt.
The additional repayment assistance will be available to eligible borrowers between November 23, 2020, and June 30, 2021.
Borrowers may indicate the repayment assistance from November 23 through banks’ customer service hotlines, online banking, or by visiting bank branches.
“The banking industry will provide further details on these enhancements next week,” said BNM.
Read more: Highlights of Budget 2021
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