In the last few months, many Malaysians have been financially affected due to Covid-19. The government came up with some financial aid at the start of the MCO to ease some of that burden. Besides one-off cash handouts, wage subsidies and other forms of financial help, the government also announced a moratorium for bank loans. This allowed people to defer or delay their loan payments for 6 months.
While that has helped many, unfortunately, the moratorium will end on 30th September 2020. This means that from next month, we will have to start paying back our loans as usual, and if we don’t, the bank can take action against us (repossession of property, foreclosure, etc.).
But of course, there may be some who are still financially recovering and may be unable to start paying their loans again. So here’s how you can continue to get some financial help with your loans, even after the moratorium ends.
Talk to your bank
If you need more time to repay your loan, the first thing to do would be to talk to the bank you took the loan from. While banks will be expecting people to start paying them back next month, they also have the discretion to extend more help to you if needed.
An article by Malay Mail reported that banks themselves have been offering to provide more assistance:
“As for borrowers who face difficulties paying their monthly loan commitments once the loan moratorium expires on September 30 due to the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, they are advised to visit the banks to work out flexible loan repayment arrangements.”
- Malay Mail, 24th September 2020
In fact, some banks have also put up announcements stating that they will be providing help to those who still can’t pay.
But of course, whether or not you get help depends on a lot of other factors. Those who’ve lost their jobs recently or are ill and unable to work may have a higher chance of getting that help. So it’s on a case-by-case basis, but it’s still worth the shot.
...or you can talk to AKPK
If your bank is unable to offer you help, another place you may be able to get assistance from is a financial counselling body known as Agensi Kaunseling & Pengurusan Kredit (AKPK). If you haven’t heard of them before, they’re an agency that helps people manage their debts and this is done by:
- restructuring the loan plans so you have may more time to pay them off
- helping you and your bank come up with a customized loan plan just for you
- provide counselling sessions on how to manage debts and expenses
AKPK has been helping people with their loans even before Covid-19, but they’ve also mentioned that they will be able to help at this time with the moratorium. Take note that this doesn’t mean that they would be giving you money to pay off the loans, rather they would help you with a plan on how to pay them off.
You can make appointments on their website, or you can call them at 03-2616 7766. Again, remember that you’ll need to contact them before 30th September.
Asking for help won’t affect your credit history
If you don’t already know, there’s something called CCRIS, which stands for Central Credit Reference Information. CCRIS looks at your creditworthiness—which is basically how much debts you have, and if you’re able to repay them.
Now people with a lot of debts will have a bad CCRIS report, and this in turn will affect their ability to get future loans approved by banks. So if you’re planning to get more help with the moratorium, you may think that this could affect your CCRIS.
Fortunately, banks have clarified that because times are still tough for many, asking for an extension on your loans will not affect your creditworthiness:
“This is clearly a policy decision — that nobody’s credit rating for their facilities or for their future loan requirements will be impacted if they come to the banks for this targeted repayment assistance. So this is clearly a message we want to give to our customers, whether they are retail customers or SMEs.”
- Rakesh Kaul- RHB Bank’s Group Head Retail Banking, as reported by Malay Mail
So if you really need assistance, make sure you reach out to the relevant channels before 30th September 2020. Because as mentioned earlier, if your bank isn’t aware that you’re in need of help and you fail to pay up, they have the right to take legal action against you.