PETALING JAYA: Commercial banks have assured borrowers that they will continue to make available financial assistance to those in need of such assistance.

The Association of Banks in Malaysia (ABM) said it recognises the concerns of the public and businesses that will be affected by the temporary cessation of business activities due to MCO3.0.

Its 26 members, comprising the commercial banks operating in the country, will make it easier for affected borrowers to get assistance under the Targeted Repayment Assistance (TRA) programme.

Under TRA, borrowers who have lost their employment can seek a loan deferment or moratorium of three months or they can apply for 50% reduction in the monthly instalment payment for a period of six months

Those who have experienced a reduction in income (including household income) are eligible for a commensurate reduction in monthly instalments, ABM said in a statement today.

B40 borrowers who are registered under Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH)/Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR) are eligible to opt for this specific repayment assistance.

Micro-enterprises with loan facilities of not more than RM150,000 may also opt for this specific repayment assistance, it added.

In addition, TRA is now expanded to include all SME businesses that are not permitted to operate during the MCO with total lockdown, i.e. those that are not on the list of permitted sectors as issued by the National Security Council (NSC).

All affected borrowers (individuals, micro-enterprises and SMEs) who wish to avail of this latest TRA only need to contact their respective banks to indicate which option they want to choose, ABM said.

The banks will automatically approve all selections by borrowers that fulfil the criteria stated above.

For all other affected borrowers, member banks have in place bespoke/customised rescheduling and restructuring schemes to help alleviate their burden.

ABM member banks have simplified the process for TRA and are committed to making it convenient for borrowers to opt for the assistance package they need. In most cases, borrowers should be able to make the selection on-line or over the phone.

Borrowers may also do so at bank branches, but are advised to check on their respective banks’ websites for information on any changes in operating hours or arrangements for over the-counter services in view of the continuing restrictions owing to the pandemic.

Borrowers may refer to their respective banks’ websites for the contact information or visit ABM’s website, .

As announced by Bank Negara Malaysia, borrowers’ Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS) records will not be affected by TRA received in 2021.

As such, borrowers do not have to worry about the impact on their future credit profile. Accordingly, ABM has urged all borrowers including SMEs who are affected by the Covid-19 containment measures to come forward and contact their banks via the banks’ official channels to discuss the best options available.

It reminded borrowers to be wary of scammers and only apply for any financial assistance through official bank channels. Borrowers are also advised not to deal with any third parties claiming to be agents/representatives of the banks on matters relating to repayment assistance.

Our member banks do not appoint or engage third parties or agents for purposes of the repayment assistance, it added. — Bernama