2m debtors poised to join bank scheme

2m debtors poised to join bank scheme

State-owned banks expect around 2 million debtors to participate in the latest financial relief measures rolled out to alleviate the impact of the pandemic.

The Government Savings Bank (GSB) assesses around 30% of its total customer base of 5 million will participate in the recently launched debt relief scheme, said Vitai Ratanakorn, president and chief executive.

Participants are mostly expected to come from the 28 provinces designated red zones during the recent outbreak, with fewer customers from other provinces, said Mr Vitai.

State-owned GSB on Jan 7 rolled out a measure to help affected customers living in the 28 provinces designated as red zones that have several restrictions imposed.

Some 1.9 million GSB customers, whose combined loans are worth around 670 billion baht, are allowed to apply for principal repayment suspension and reduction of loan interest since Jan 8. The measures span 3-6 months.

The bank plans to assess customers' requests depending on the scale of impact they have endured during the crisis.

"We will have to evaluate each borrower, contrary to last year's measure where we implemented a debt and interest holiday nationwide," said Mr Vitai.

Regarding the measure to provide loans to beef up financial liquidity, a maximum credit line of 50,000 baht and an annual interest rate of 0.35% are provided for each retail borrower. This group of borrowers does not need a loan guarantor or collateral.

Borrowers can seek to obtain this loan until June 30. The total amount of loans for this measure is tallied at 10 billion baht.

Small and medium-sized enterprises can use assets as collateral, with the insured amount stipulated at 70% of asset value. The repayment period spans a three-year maximum.

The total amount of loans for this measure is 5 billion baht.

Chatchai Sirilai, president of GH Bank, said the bank has rolled out 10 measures to alleviate borrowers' financial burdens since the first Covid-19 outbreak, with the amount of loans racked up from participating borrowers valued at 540 billion baht.

Although some borrowers have managed to exit the programme, the remaining sum of borrowers' loans still under the 10 relief measures currently totals 139 billion baht, said Mr Chatchai.

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