Singapore banks provide relief packages for retail customers, SMEs

Photo: hiveminer.com

Relief measures have been strengthened by Singapore banks to assist retail customers and businesses to navigate through disruptions brought about by the ongoing Covid-19 spread.

On Thursdy (13 Feb), OCBC announced that it will provide targeted support to customers in its core markets impacted by the epidemic, such as Macau, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and China.

OCBC’s measures include extending bridging loans in the guise of additional working capital financing to affected firms, restructuring their business loans and home mortgages, extending the due date of the affected firms’ trade finance bills, as well as offering moratorium on principal repayment for loans.

OCBC also remarked that these measures are implemented to guarantee that both individuals and businesses can manage their cashflows to surmount these market challenges.

Samuel Tsien, the chief executive of Samuel Tsien remarked that the bank “will not put a cap” on the assistance it will give to customers because the closer regional connectivity means that the scale of the epidemic is “different from that of previous challenges”.

On Thursday as well, DBS also stated that it will offer liquidity relief packages to small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SME) to assist their “most urgent cashflow needs” at this time. DBS will especially offer a six-month principal repayment moratorium for SME property loans. Also, an extension of import facilities for up to 60 days to serve as immediate cashflow assistance for firms to weather the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 epidemic will also be offered by DBS. Customers with good repayment track record will get access to these packages when they apply.

Based on the recent poll by DBS, the top concern of around 100 SMEs at this time is to secure consistent cashflow to ongoing operating costs.

On the retail front, affected customers with good repayment track-record can apply for six-month principal repayment moratorium for mortgage loans. DBS/POSB’s will add more details on their website starting 17 Feb.

DBS will also partner up with transport operator ComfortDelGro, DBS stated, in or der to get commuters to use the bank’s credit or debit cards for street hail fares. This will make it easier for contact tracing.

“We hope the liquidity measures will go some way in easing the financial pressure that some individuals and SMEs may face. Other initiatives are intended to help customers adjust to the little changes they may have to make in daily living,” DBS Singapore country head Shee Tse Koon remarked.

According to UOB on Wednesday (13 Feb), it has put aside S$3 billion to offer relief assistance to Singapore-based firms and SMEs. This will allow affected businesses to recalibrate their principal repayments as well as service only their loan interest and extension of working capital financing up to S$5 million for up to a year. This also entails offering financing liquidity against mortgage security.

UOB will also provide flexibility for businesses secured loans which could translate into a higher loan amount or an overdraft facility. Retail customers affected by the epidemic will be assessed by UOB on a case-by-case basis.

Similarly, Standard Chartered will provide principal moratoria and loan tenor extensions of up to a year for affected clients with business banking instalment loans if they request it.

Additional forms of support cover bill maturity extensions for up to three months for clients with trading facilities burdened with delayed trade payments, waivers of business banking late fees and related charges such as restructuring costs. For clients with commercial mortgages, the extensions go up to six months, including overdrafts or extra loans against their property.

CIMB, through its Singapore branch, has also offered assistance to affected firms that need longer credit terms from their suppliers in order to conserve cashflow.

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