BoT offers new debt repayment phase

BoT offers new debt repayment phase

Deputy Bank of Thailand Governor Ronadol Numnonda
Deputy Bank of Thailand Governor Ronadol Numnonda

The Bank of Thailand is set to announce phase 3 of its debt restructuring measures for individual borrowers on Friday to help ease hardships stemming from the impact of the third wave of Covid-19.

Ronadol Numnonda, deputy governor for financial institutions stability, said the central bank plans to offer financial aid to borrowers on a case-by-case basis.

After the third wave emerged in April, retail borrowers' ability to repay debt weakened because of lower incomes.

Borrowers have been affected in different ways, which is why phase 3 will not include blanket measures, he said.

An earlier report said planned relief measures might include a debt haircut for individual borrowers. Mr Ronadol declined to comment on a haircut, saying only that the central bank has many options in terms of financial instruments.

An executive at a commercial bank who requested anonymity said if the option of a haircut is proposed, his bank will not agree to it because it could lead to moral hazard and undermine the financial discipline of borrowers.

The source said his bank has been offering a debt restructuring programme on a case-by-case basis to borrowers since the first wave of infections.

Most of its borrowers exited the debt moratorium and started repaying with financial discipline, said the source. The bank also maintained non-performing loans at a satisfactory level.

"With good financial discipline from both creditors and borrowers, it strengthens the local financial system overall and leads to sustainable growth in the long run," said the source.

The central bank recently implemented additional debt aid measures for commercial loan borrowers through the amended soft loan and asset warehousing schemes, which took effect on April 26. As of May 5, approvals of soft loans under the programme tallied 6.21 billion baht offered to 3,012 borrowers, averaging 2.1 million baht per borrower.

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