LENDERS did not tap the rediscount facility of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in April amid lower demand for credit from borrowers, central bank data showed.

“There are no availments under the peso rediscount facility and the Exporters’ Dollar and Yen Rediscount Facility (EDYRF) covering the period January 1 to April 30, 2021,” the central bank said in a statement on Monday.

April marked the seventh straight month that banks did not take out loans from the BSP’s rediscount window.

In 2020, banks only tapped the facility in March, April, August, and September for loans amounting to P26.9 billion, which was 77.7% lower than the 2019 level. Meanwhile, the EDYRF was untouched in 2020.

The BSP’s rediscount facility lets banks get additional liquidity by posting their collectibles from clients as collateral. Banks can use the cash — denominated in peso, dollar or yen — to service its loans to corporate or retail clients and for unexpected withdrawals.

“Slower demand for loans has been a major factor that reduced banks’ need to tap the BSP rediscounting facilities,” Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a text message.

Banks’ decision not to tap the rediscount window also shows there continues to be enough liquidity in the system, he added.

Outstanding loans disbursed by big banks declined for the third consecutive month in February by 2.7%, based on preliminary BSP data.

Prior to posting year-on-year declines, lending growth had already been tepid as the crisis made banks more risk-averse while borrowers shied away from credit.

For this month, applicable rates for the peso rediscount loans are at 2.5%, regardless of maturity.

Meanwhile, loans under the EDYRF are priced at 2.17638% and 1.91417% for the dollar and yen credit lines, respectively. — Luz Wendy T. Noble