Kuala Lumpur, 30 July 2020 – In line with the government’s recent announcement on the extended COVID-19 relief initiatives, Hong Leong Bank and Hong Leong Islamic Bank (“HLB” or the “Bank”) will be providing additional targeted assistance to customers who foresee some difficulties in restarting their regular payments come October 2020 under the Bank’s Payment Relief Assistance Plans. Under these plans, targeted payment assistance will be extended to individuals and SMEs customers based on their particular circumstances. HLB/HLISB is encouraging its customers to reach out to the Bank now so that they can plan their recovery journey early, and well ahead of October 1st, 2020.
HLB/HLISB assistance plans include additional 3-months payment deferment, based on the terms provided under the current moratorium, to those borrowers who have lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In cases where customers have suffered a reduction in income due to the pandemic, the Bank will extend a commensurate reduction in their monthly loan/financing instalment(s) for a period of 6-month, starting 1st October, 2020. The Bank will re-assess the customers’ financial position before the end of the 6-month period to extend additional support to those that who still need further assistance.
Domenic Fuda, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of HLB stressed that the Bank is here to help customers on their road to recovery and it is important for customers to reach out to the Bank now so we can, together, explore the required assistance, and hence, have it finalised and in place well before 1st October 2020.
He added, “The industry-wide deferment has been important in providing relief to all Malaysians during the MCO and RMCO periods, especially to those who had either lost their jobs or had their income reduced during this period. Although the country has entered the recovery phase and many things are getting back on track, recovery is not even across all sectors of society, with cashflow remaining a concern for certain sections of the business community and households.
“We are encouraged by the reasonable recovery we are seeing in business activities since the RMCO, both among our corporate and SME clients, as well as consumers who are returning to their employment. We also note that customers who are on the recovery path and are seeing their financial situation improving post the MCO period, have restarted their payments earlier than October 2020. Nonetheless, there will be some businesses and households that continue to experience cashflow issues and these are the customers who will need our attention and assistance to see them through their recovery journey.
To this end, we have started to actively reach out to those that we think might need further assistance so that we can ascertain their circumstances, and thus provide targeted and individualised assistance that will ease their financial burden. We have further streamlined our policies and processes to ensure that we will provide the assistance necessary in a simple and seamless manner.”
HLB’s approach to help clients through this challenging period has been significantly wider than the 6-months Loan/Financing Payments Deferment. The Bank moved early to introduce a payment restructuring plan to help individuals, SMEs and Corporate customers navigate through the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic as early as February 2020. The industry wide 6-months payments deferment period, starting 1st April 2020, was an extension of the Bank’s earlier program. Since the commencement of the loan/financing payments moratorium, we have also continued to work closely with customers that were not covered under the moratorium program, including credit card customers, those who were in arrears 90 days or more as at March 31st 2020, and corporate clients, to extend appropriate assistance where it was required.
Aside from helping to manage payment obligations, HLB has also been focused on helping SMEs to recover and rebuild with resiliency. The Bank has extended additional credit through the BNM Special Relief Facility to over 2,200 SMEs, between March to May 2020, and in June, launched the PENJANA SME Financing Scheme to further assist SME customers in their recovery journey. The Bank has also extended credit to SMEs that want to digitize and automate their businesses through the BNM Automation and Digitalisation Facility (ADF) while those in the agricultural and food industry have been provided loans/financing through the BNM Agrifood Facility.
“These are all additional initiatives, to name a few, that we have and will continue to supplement our normal lending/financing activities, which have been operating as normal during the MCO and RMCO periods. We encourage our customers to reach out to us now before the end of September to discuss any assistance required,” added Fuda.
HLB will also be going the extra mile to have open days called ‘Advisory & Assistance Day’ on two consecutive Saturdays (8th and 15th August) from 9.30AM – 1.00PM at selected branches, for customers to engage with the Bank on queries pertaining to the Payment Relief Assistance Plans, how the Bank can help post loan deferment period as well as financial and investment advice.
For more information on the Bank’s Payment Relief Assistance Plans please visit www.hlb.com.my/relief