AMID THE enhanced community quarantine that has caused business disruption and some job losses, more banks are giving their customers leeway, with some extending payment deadlines to up to two months.
“To further alleviate the plight of our businesses and their workers, banks are also extending flexible arrangements to borrowers who need critical support during these extraordinary times,” Bankers Association of the Philippines Managing Director Benjamin P. Castillo said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The banks are committed to provide availability of cash through ATMs and digital platforms to facilitate the payments of goods and services,” Mr. Del Castillo said.
In an advisory, the country’s largest bank, BDO Unibank Inc., said they will give a 60-day payment extension to “qualified credit card, auto, home, SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) and personal loan customers” with loans that have due dates of up to April 15.
BDO said they will send an e-mail and text message to qualified clients.
Other lenders will also implement a 30-day grace period without penalties imposed for borrowers, including Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. and Bank of the Philippine Islands.
Also giving out extended payment periods to qualified borrowers are Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC), UnionBank of the Philippines, Inc., EastWest Banking Corp., China Banking Corp., CIMB Bank Philippines, and Philippine Savings Bank.
Likewise, some lenders have also waived fees for bank transfers done through electronic fund transfer schemes InstaPay and PESONet.
“Given the limited mobility due to the enhanced community quarantine, we encourage our fellow Filipinos to optimize the use of digital channels for secure, fast, and convenient financial transactions,” RCBC said in a statement on Tuesday.
The Yuchengco-led lender is waiving transaction fees for both InstaPay and PesoNET.
Meanwhile, UnionBank will do away with charges for InstaPay transactions.
PESONet is a service under the central bank’s National Retail Payment System that allows a batch of fund transfers to be credited to the receiver by the end of the banking day, suited for business to business transactions. Meanwhile, InstaPay is its retail counterpart that allows real-time fund transfers of transactions less than P50,000.
Earlier, some banks said they are expecting lower loan bookings and a rise in bad loans as an impact of the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVD-19) on their operations and business.
BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier has said banks are aware that their basic banking services should push through, including automated teller machine services, withdrawals, and deposits. — LWTN