Time to move on from moratorium, say bankers

CIMB Group Holdings Bhd CEO Datuk Abdul Rahman Ahmad said any decision to extend the moratorium beyond Sept 30 would be a “populist move.”

KUALA LUMPUR: Although the six-month automatic loan moratorium was beneficial to the country, it is important to move out of the moratorium period so that the economy can start to recover.

CIMB Group Holdings Bhd CEO Datuk Abdul Rahman Ahmad said any decision to extend the moratorium beyond Sept 30 would be a “populist move.”

“The implications (of extending it) must be understood, ” he told a media roundtable with selected bank CEOs and the national Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK).

Bank CEOs yesterday urged those who cannot make loan payments post Sept 30 to come forward and seek help from the lenders.

“For those who cannot pay, we will help but it is important for banks to transit out of the auto-moratorium period and to return to really lending into the economy to make sure it recovers from the pandemic, ” Abdul Rahman, who chaired the meeting, said.

In April, the government introduced relief measures for consumers and businesses in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic including a six-month moratorium for borrowers which enabled them to defer their loan payments to banks.

The moratorium ends on Sept 30.

The bankers yesterday said banks remained committed to providing repayment flexibility and were working to contact borrowers who may need assistance.

As of Sept 11, banks have contacted more than two million borrowers to offer them loan repayment assistance.

Of this number, more than 380,000 have said that they need assistance.

Meanwhile, RHB Bank head of retail banking Rakesh Kaul said “naturally”, banks would face asset deterioration as Covid-19 impacts borrowing repayments, as already seen in the past quarter.

“However, we think it will normalise over the next three to six months, ” he said.

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