THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is directing financing and lending companies to extend the grace period for all loans covering the re-extended enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

In a notice on its website, the corporate regulator told financing companies, lending companies and microfinance non-government organizations to adjust the 30-day grace period for loan payments until May 15.

It referred to Republic Act No. 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, which requires a mandatory grace period for all loans with principal and/or interest due within the ECQ period.

It also requires that these loans not incur interest on interest, penalties, fees and other charges during the 30-day grace period.

Earlier notices from the SEC covered loan payments landing from March 17 to April 12, then to April 30, to account for the first two periods of the ECQ.

The government extended the ECQ in Metro Manila and selected parts of the country until May 15, pushing for an adjustment on the SEC notice.

Before the SEC mandated the grace period, several lending and financing companies had already announced extended loan payment deadlines due to the ECQ. Some of these are BDO Unibank, Inc.; Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co.; Bank of the Philippine Islands; Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.; Union Bank of the Philippines; East West Banking Corp.; China Banking Corp.; CIMB Bank Philippines; and Philippine Savings Bank. — Denise A. Valdez