To support the delivery of bank services and to foster lending activity during the coronavirus pandemic, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will retain its COVID-19 relief package said BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno.

On Thursday (August 19), Diokno assured the public that essential banking services will remain available throughout the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period, which is the strictest quarantine classification in the country. 

Diokno also promised that BSP’s regulatory support to banks will be maintained and asked lenders to continue providing relief measures to Filipinos during this vulnerable time

“The BSP will continue to closely coordinate with the banking industry to ensure the safe and efficient delivery of banking services as well as monitor the developments related to the on-going Covid-19 pandemic and take swift action, if necessary,” Diokno shared

According to Diokno, the following will be included in the support BSP plans to deliver: 

  • The release of peso-denominated loans to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and critically impacted large enterprises as alternative compliance with the reserve requirement; 
  • Relaxing of requirements on the presentation of valid IDs by retail clients and micro-business owners; 
  • and the temporary waiver on PhilPass transaction fees and licensing fees for Electronic Payments and Financial Services.

Diokno noted that banks have been actively supplying financial relief to their borrowers. In June 2021 alone, the level of restructured loans of banks jumped to P328.6 billion. It jumped at least seven times compared to last year’s P48.7 billion, which was recorded in the same period. 

Besides this, MSME loans have also increased drastically when the pandemic hit. As of July 2021, loans delivered hit P188.7 billion – a huge jump from the P8.7 billion recorded last year in April. 

“These developments indicate banks’ continuing efforts to assist borrowers weather the challenges faced during this difficult period. Thus, customers are encouraged to approach banks regarding adjustments to their loan terms to match their cash flows and paying capacity,” BSP emphasized. 

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Image credit: BSP; Rafael Cerquiera via Unsplash