BoT's Debt Doctor aids borrowers

BoT's Debt Doctor aids borrowers

Scheme offers full range of advice

The Bank of Thailand (BoT) has implemented a new debt consultation programme, Debt Doctor, to offer complete financial advice to pandemic-hit borrowers to help them survive the difficult situation.

The central bank implemented the debt advisory scheme as a pilot project at the beginning of the year, helping individual and small and medium-sized borrowers who have been affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, said Thanyanit Niyomkarn, assistant governor for supervision group 2.

Mrs Thanyanit said the assistance covers comprehensive financial and debt advisory services including debt solutions, helping them understand the debt-aid measures of the government, the BoT and financial institutions.

The programme also helps borrowers adjust their business models and allows them to receive additional credit lines from both the government and the BoT's scheme as well as financial institutions.

Borrowers can get financial advice and debt-relief solutions via the central bank's website.

SME borrowers, whose loan products and businesses are more complicated than retail loan, can make an appointment to get financial advice from advisers of the Debt Doctor project.

Under collaboration between the central bank, the Finance Ministry, Thai Credit Guarantee Cooperation, the Thai Bankers Association and the Government Financial Institution Association, seven specialised financial institutions and eight commercial banks have joined the programme with around 200 financial advisers at present.

"After the central bank implemented the Debt Doctor scheme at the beginning of this year, the Covid-hit SMEs have been joining the programme at around 940 or around 200 borrowers per month, on average. The numbers are expected to double from now on," she said.

The existing 200 financial advisers are now able to cover SME borrowers because only some of them need deep financial advice.

At the same time, SMEs in the same business can make an appointment as a big group, receiving advice together. Some of the 940 SME borrowers, who have participated in the debt consultation scheme, could ease their debt burden through debt-restructuring measures.

An average of 10,000 visitors per month use the website of the debt-advisory programme and the numbers are expected to further increase.

Mrs Thanyanit said the BoT has not set a specific timeframe for the Debt Doctor project and the bank will monitor the progress of the programme month by month to adjust and improve assistance in line with the demand of borrowers.

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