TBA unveils package for operators hit by triple whammy
The Thai Bankers' Association (TBA) has come up with a comprehensive assistance package that includes a grace period for principal loan payment with a maximum of one year for tourism operators, exporters, importers, supply chain operators and individuals affected by the coronavirus epidemic and the country's flagging economy.
The measures are divided into three groups: tourism and related businesses, including restaurants and souvenir vendors; exporters, importers and those who are in the supply chain; and employees, said Predee Daochai, the TBA chairman.
The association is offering tourism and related operators to pay only interest for up to one year and special promotions for domestic travel through credit cards to boost the tourism sector, Mr Predee said.
Extending the payment period for packing credit loan facilities and promissory notes for up to three months per time is provided to exporters, importers and supply chain operators, he said.
Employees of businesses affected by the virus are allowed to service interest up to one year for mortgage loans.
For credit cards and personal loans, they have two options: paying only interest for up to one year with an interest rate cut applicable on a case-by-case basis; and refinancing with an interest payment of up to one year on a case-by-case basis.
Those with auto loans are offered payment rescheduling and lower instalment amounts.
Mr Predee said many commercial banks' customers have already accepted such assistance, but it will take time to gather the aid amount.
Thailand is reeling from a triple whammy -- the virus outbreak, drought conditions and the delayed fiscal budget -- resulting in some research houses downgrading the growth outlook this year to below 2%.
Don Nakornthab, the Bank of Thailand's senior director for economics and policy, said recently that GDP growth would likely be less than 2% this year, while first-quarter growth could sink below 1% if the country loses 250 billion baht in tourism income as estimated by the Tourism and Sports Ministry.
The National Economic and Social Development Council last week slashed its forecast for 2020 growth to 1.5-2.5% from 2.7%-3.7% made on Nov 18 last year, while the Bank of Thailand is poised to review its growth estimate of 2.8% in March.
The association will closely monitor the situation and join hands with the public and private sectors to aid business operators and households.