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BoT adopts targeted, non-generalized debt relief measures for SMEs

BoT adopts targeted, non-generalized debt relief measures for SMEs

Measures postponed until next June for companies that have not fully recovered

Roong Mallikamas, Deputy Governor for Financial Stability and Corporate Strategy Group, Bank of Thailand.

The Bank of Thailand has put in place targeted debt moratorium measures, which are expected to end next June, for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with a line of credit of less than 100 million baht and with debts. difficulties in servicing their existing debts.

The targeted measures will end on June 30, 2021. This will only apply to the targeted SMEs that cannot cope with the repayment of loans to financial institutions due to the full non-recovery of business operations.

The central bank implemented large-scale debt relief measures on April 23 to help SMEs recover from the fallout from the pandemic, but the measures were due to end on October 22.

Roong Mallikamas, deputy governor responsible for financial stability and corporate strategy, said the central bank would let banks and non-bank companies negotiate with debtors on whether they can repay their debts normally or whether they prefer to continue. the debt moratorium program for another six months.

Banks and non-bank companies will need to collect information on SMEs for the extended debt moratorium by December of this year.

The value of debtors receiving debt relief measures in the formal banking system stands at 6.89 trillion baht, of which 1.35 trillion baht is allocated to SME loans of 1.05 million accounts.

Of the 1.35 trillion baht, 950 billion baht from 319,000 accounts representing 79% of total SME loans are classified as SME borrowers with contracted debt of less than 100 million baht. Commercial banks and non-bank companies are the creditors of this portion of the SME loan.

Of the 950 billion baht, 57 billion baht or 6% of SME loans from commercial banks and non-bank companies are classified as SME borrowers that banks and non-bank companies were unable to contact. .

The majority of SME borrowers say they intend to service their debts normally when the debt moratorium program expires next Thursday, according to the central bank.

“The Bank of Thailand has asked financial institutions to try to contact the 6% of debtor SMEs,” Ms. Roong said. “They will have more than two months or until the end of December to find them [debtors] and offer the option of a debt moratorium for another six months or to service their debts normally. “

She said financial institutions may also consider adjusting debt service terms for clients on a case-by-case basis to avoid an increase in non-performing loans, as well as adopting other tools such as reduced interest on credit cards and personal loans and the suspension of installments.

Borrowers will be able to resume repaying the full amount when the situation returns to normal, Ms. Roong said.

“The Bank of Thailand has been monitoring the situation closely and expects there will not be many defaults in a very short period of time. [cliff effect] after the end of the debt moratorium program, “she said.” This is because debtor SMEs whose creditors are specialized financial institutions, with loans totaling 400 billion baht, will continue to be under the debt moratorium regime for another six months. The majority of debtor SMEs, which owe a total of 950 billion baht to commercial banks and non-bank companies, also intend to repay their debts. “

The main reason for targeted debt moratorium measures, as opposed to general measures, is to avoid long-term negative repercussions, Roong said.

Debtors still bear the interest charges during the debt moratorium, while targeted measures are a way of discouraging moral hazard, as some debtors, who have not been significantly affected by the crisis, may choose to opt out. seize this opportunity to delay the repayment of the debt.

The longer period of the debt moratorium will also negatively affect financial stability, with an estimated cash loss of baht 200 billion resulting from the suspension of principal and interest repayments, Roong said.

With the relaxed lockdowns, each line of business has resumed operations, albeit at a varying pace.

Companies linked to beverages, agriculture, household appliances and petrochemicals have experienced a good recovery, according to the central bank.

In contrast, tourism-related businesses have recovered slowly from pre-crisis activity.


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