August 23, 2021 | 00h00
MANILA, Philippines – Philippine banks continued to provide financial assistance to borrowers severely affected by the pandemic and at the same time ensured continued access to essential financial services amid lockdowns, according to Bangko Sentral ng PIlipinas.
BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said the amount of loans restructured by local banks reached 328.6 billion pesos at the end of June, nearly seven times the 48.7 billion pesos recorded in the same period. Last year.
Diokno said the regulator has also extended relief measures, including incentive loans to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as well as large enterprises severely affected by the pandemic to ensure the continuity of the provision of banking services. .
âThese developments indicate the continued efforts of banks to help borrowers overcome the challenges faced during this difficult time. Thus, customers are encouraged to contact banks regarding adjustments to their loan conditions based on their cash flow and payment capacity, âsaid the head of BSP.
When the National Capital Region and neighboring provinces were placed under enhanced community quarantine from August 6 to 20 due to the resurgence of COVID-19 cases, the BSP encouraged banks and financial institutions to renew, restructure or extend the terms of their clients’ loans, taking into account their cash flow in the absence of a mandatory moratorium on loan repayments.
To help borrowers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, President Duterte signed the Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act (Bayanihan 1) and RA 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2). Both laws expired last year.
Diokno said bank customers could turn to BSP-supervised financial institutions (BSFI) in the absence of a mandatory moratorium or grace period for loans.
“In accordance with the political intention of these measures, the banks have worked to provide financial relief to their borrowers,” he said.
Likewise, Diokno said that customers can also use the BSP Online Buddy or BOB to raise complaints and concerns about their financial transactions.
“The BSP will continue to coordinate closely with the banking sector to ensure the safe and efficient provision of banking services, as well as to monitor developments related to the ongoing pandemic and take swift action, if necessary,” Diokno said.
In addition, the BSP said banks continue to operate in enhanced community quarantine areas with a reduced workforce on site to help stem the transmission of COVID within the community.
Exceptionally, public and private financial service providers involved in the distribution of government grants and improvement grants are allowed to operate at full capacity on site.
The BSP chief said the number of bank branches has continued to increase since the start of the pandemic, with the total number of branches rising to 13,134 at the end of July from 12,870 at the end of 2019 and the number of ATMs reaching 22. 523 end of March.
Diokno said the regulator was closely monitoring the status of temporary bank office closures on a daily basis to ensure the availability of financial services for the banking public.