Aside from reassuring borrowers on the continued availability of targeted repayment assistance, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) also revealed some statistics relating to the initiative, which is aimed at supporting borrowers that may face challenges in serving their financial obligations.

According to the central bank, 640,000 applications have been received as at October 9, 2020, with an approval rate of 98%. From the approved applications, 40% were granted an extension of the moratorium for a further three months. These include individuals who have been recently made unemployed, as well as businesses in sectors that may still be experiencing significant operating constraints caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the remaining 60% of approved applications saw borrowers receive a reduction in instalments, with BNM saying that this method of assistance puts individuals and SMEs on a path to start paying down their loans, at levels which they are comfortable with.

Based on BNM’s data, 50% of individuals who requested repayment assistance have a monthly income of RM5,000 or less, while 28% are those with a monthly income of between RM5,000 and RM10,000. Those with variable incomes have also been given support, along with employees in sectors have been heavily impacted by the pandemic, such as tourism.

The month of October saw the country transition into a targeted moratorium after the blanket automatic loan moratorium, which began from April 1, ended on September 30. Prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin previously announced a three-month extension to the bank loan moratorium (October 1 to December 31), albeit with some changes from the first time around. Following BNM’s recent announcement, this assistance looks set to continue into next year as well.

In the case of hire purchase loans, which are usually taken on to purchase cars, banks will be able to provide the option of rescheduling your instalments accordingly, in accordance to the Hire Purchase Act. Unlike during the initial moratorium period (April 1 to September 30), where borrowers did not need to pay anything for six months, the newer targeted repayment assistance will see your loan being restructured instead.

For example, the loan term can be extended for a revised monthly instalment amount and possibly with interest as well (check with your respective banks first). Certain banks appear to allow further deferment but with terms and conditions attached, and as these plans are individualised to suit each customer’s situation, various factors such as financial condition, affordability and account status will be taken into consideration first.