Banks ironing out details, fine-tuning systems ahead of six-month moratorium

Several banks have started updating their websites and enhancing their internal systems ahead of the six-month moratorium starting July 7.

Twentytwo13 contacted several banks and was informed that more details would only be provided next week as bank staff were working round the clock to ensure they were able to meet their clients’ needs.

“It’s not as simple as throwing a switch,” said a bank officer who declined to be named.

“I’ve been involved in meetings since yesterday. We are trying to anticipate every possible scenario as every client has a different portfolio.

“We are not talking about 10 or 20 customers. We are talking about hundreds of thousands of customers who have committed to numerous types of loans and financial packages.”

He said his team were already anticipating some of the possible scenarios, especially from those who had recently opted for assistance.

“For example, if a person had requested for a three-month assistance in June that ends in August … The borrower is still eligible for the six-month moratorium. We are looking at the possibility of providing options; either to stick with the earlier arrangement that ends in August and start fresh with a six-month moratorium that ends in February 2022, or cancel the earlier arrangement and take up this new moratorium that ends in December 2021.

“We also have to factor in the predicament faced by joint borrowers and the next-of-kin staying in homes of deceased borrowers who did not take up any insurance when buying their homes, or had defaulted in their insurance payments.

“These are just some of the many scenarios that are being discussed internally. Once everything is finalised, we will inform all the departments and branches nationwide,” he added.

A source from another bank admitted that offering such a moratorium required a lot of planning but added that banks would be able to adapt better this time around.

“We have to make sure that the systems are updated so that people won’t get any automated letters to say that they have defaulted on their payments. Also, in the first moratorium, it was automatic. You had to inform the banks to opt out of it,” said the source.

“This time around, it’s the opt-in approach, meaning borrowers have to contact the banks and inform them if they want to apply for the moratorium.”

He added banks had to also update their systems to ensure that the non-payment throughout the six months does not affect the borrower’s credit score.

“Everyone is entitled to the moratorium. Borrowers will be getting more updates from their respective banks in days to come.”

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