Reply to Parliamentary Question on Take-up of Relief Packages Offered by Financial Institutions
QUESTION NO 666
NOTICE PAPER 258 OF 2021
FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
Date: For Parliament Sitting on 16 February 2021
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Ms Foo Mee Har, MP, West Coast GRC
To ask the Prime Minister (a) what is the number of borrowers who applied for relief packages offered by financial institutions to overcome financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and (b) what is the number of borrowers expected to have problems transitioning back to full loan repayment.
Answer by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Minister in charge of MAS:
1. Between April and December 2020, banks and finance companies deferred loan repayment on more than 36,000 property loans and 2,800 renovation and student loans, converted more than 10,300 revolving unsecured credit facilities to lower-interest term loans, and approved more than 6,500 principal payment deferments for SME secured loans.
2. Upon the expiry of these relief measures at the end of last year, extended reliefs have been made available to individuals and SMEs facing continued cashflow challenges. Borrowers can apply for partial repayment or lower monthly instalments, which give them more time to transition to full loan repayments eventually. Longer-term loan restructuring options are also available for borrowers in greater financial difficulties.
3. So far, only a small proportion who took up reliefs in 2020 have sought the extended reliefs. As at end 2020, banks and finance companies have approved about 2,800 reduced instalment plans for property loans, 150 loan tenure extensions for renovation and student loans, and 1,000 deferments of principal payments by SMEs on secured and government-supported loans.
4. The Monetary Authority of Singapore and the financial industry will continue to monitor the situation closely. Fortunately, all indications are that other than a few hard-hit sectors such as aviation, the economy is generally recovering, and we should see fewer cases of financial hardship.
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