Banking industry sets aside RM1 bil to reduce financial woes of B50 group

MALAYSIA’s banking industry will work alongside the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) to support the recently unveiled Financial Management and Resilience Programme (URUS) by setting aside an estimated RM1 bil to provide “breathing space for vulnerable Malaysians to regain their financial footing”.

The funding will enable the reduction of interest/profit costs (including interest/profit waiver) for customers in the B50 income group category.

“The scheme is open to individual customers who are under an existing repayment assistance programme (eg targeted repayment assistance, PEMERKASA Plus, PEMULIH or bank’s own rescheduling and restructuring) as of Sept 30,” noted the banking industry’s representatives in a media statement.

The representatives comprised the Association of Banks in Malaysia (ABM), Association of Islamic Banking and Financial Institutions Malaysia (AIBIM) and Association of Development Finance Institutions of Malaysia (ADFIM).

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced yesterday (Oct 13) that the banking sector would roll out URUS for borrowers in the B50 income group soon. Facilities to be provided include interest exemption for three months and smaller instalments for up to 24 months as well as a lower interest rate.

Qualified customers are those with gross household income of RM5,880 or lower based on the definition by the Department of Statistics of Malaysia (DOSM). Evidence of household income will be required for customers who are not registered recipients of Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) or Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR).

Additionally, the applicants must have also experienced either loss of employment or reduction of income of at least 50% as well as whose loan/financing is still performing (not in arrears exceeding 90 days) as at the date of their application

Under URUS, AKPK will provide the customer with a personalised financial plan that is developed holistically, taking into account the customer’s financial circumstances and ability to afford repayment of all the customer’s financing obligations.

The financial plan will encompass the following options:

  • An interest/profit waiver for a period of three months, commencing the month following the customer’s onboarding into the scheme; or
  • A three-month interest/profit waiver together with reduced instalments for a period of up to 24 months in total (during this period, customers with unsecured personal loans/financing and credit cards may also benefit from reduced interest/profit rates to help alleviate their financial burden).

“AKPK will help to monitor the financial plan throughout the programme and review the plan with the bank when the financial circumstances of the customer improve,” the media statement pointed out. “These services are provided to customers for free.”

Individual customers who fulfil the criteria can apply for URUS through one of their banks starting from Nov 15 until Jan 31, 2022. Banks will notify customers of the application process nearer to this date. – Oct 14, 2021

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