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Jun 06, 2020 PRINT EDITION

Rescheduling of loans: Mailboxes of banks unable to handle massive applications

Mailboxes of leading banks are unable to handle massive applications for restricting/rescheduling of loans in the wake of coronavirus spread in the country.

Updated April 25, 2020

Mailboxes of leading banks are unable to handle massive applications for restricting/rescheduling of loans in the wake of coronavirus spread in the country.
The banking industry sources have pointed out that since a large number of banking customers have started applying for restricting/rescheduling of their loans after the issuance of a circular from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on March 26, 2020, it is not possible for banks' mailboxes to process them. "We are advising our customers to hand over a hard copy of their applications to the banks," said one banker, requesting not to be named.
The auto-generated replies from these banks are informing the applicants that "the recipient's mailbox is full and can't accept messages now. Please try resending this message later, or contact the recipient directly."
It may be noted that the SBP has desired the banks to offer restricting/rescheduling options to their existing customers who are willing, but unable to pay the total monthly installments against their loans.
Accordingly, the banks have introduced three categories for their customers. Out of these three categories, the most preferred one is about the deferment of principal amount. Under this proposal, the customer's principal repayment would be postponed for a period of up to 12 months. The second criterion is about those customers who are applying for postponement of repayment of the principal amount for a period of 13 to 24 months. However, the banks would make this offer to eligible customers after certain evaluations. The third category is about deferment of both principal and mark-up amounts and under this proposal, the customers' complete repayment schedule (principal and markup/rental) would be postponed for a period of up to 24 months. However, the markup would continue to accrue under this proposal which would be repayable to the bank over the remaining tenure of the facility.
One banker said they were making it clear to their customers that banks would make verifications before accepting the applications in case they were applying for the second and third categories. For example, he said, a customer would not be entertained under the rescheduling scheme if he was earning by renting out the vehicle acquired through a bank loan. However, a transport company can avail it. Similarly, he said, the jobless individuals possessing bank's vehicle could avail that facility provided that the salary was deposited in a bank for a period of six months before they became jobless.
According to banking sources, the majority of the customers are expecting to waive off their markup amount, therefore, they are rushing to banks and applying under the scheme. "We are making clear that both the principal and markup would only be deferred for a specific period, but there would be no waiving off on any account," said one banker. Since the banks are supposed to pay the Karachi Inter-Bank Offered Rate (KIBOR), therefore no such waiver can be offered to customers, he said, adding the benefit was limited to rescheduling of loans. Some bankers said they had stopped deducting online installments for the time being. Interestingly, some customers are applying with a hope that the State Bank would waive off their markup in case the lockdown continues for long.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020