Supporting Individuals and Businesses

MAS and the financial industry introduced measures to help ease the strain on individuals and SMEs, in light of the cashflow difficulties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. These measures complemented the Government’s fiscal measures to preserve jobs and support enterprises and households.

MAS and the financial industry launched a first relief package to help individuals and businesses

31 March 2020

MAS, together with the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), the Life Insurance Association (LIA), the General Insurance Association (GIA), and the Finance Houses Association of Singapore (FHAS), launched its first relief package of measures to help ease the financial strain on individuals and SMEs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The measures helped:

  • individuals manage their debt by allowing
    • deferment of repayment for residential property loans
    • converting personal unsecured credit to lower-interest term loans
  • individuals stay insured by allowing
    • deferment of premium payments for life and health insurance
    • flexible instalment plans for general insurance
  • SMEs manage their cashflow by allowing
    • deferment of payment of principal on secured SME loans
    • lower interest on SME loans
  • SMEs stay insured by
    • providing assistance with insurance premium payment, including via instalment plans

MAS launched its second relief package to provide additional support to affected individuals

30 April 2020

The second package of measures by MAS, the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) and the Finance Houses Association of Singapore (FHAS) extended the scope of relief for individuals to other types of loan commitments, and allowed them to continue to have access to affordable basic banking services.

The measures:

  • Eased cashflow by allowing individuals to
    • defer repayment for commercial and industry property loans; mortgage equity withdrawal loans; renovation and student loans and motor vehicle loans and hire-purchase agreements
    • extend loan tenure for Debt Consolidation Plans (DCPs)
  • Reduced debt by allowing individuals to refinance investment property loans, without being subject to the total debt servicing ratio and mortgage servicing ratio
  • Ensured access to basic banking services by waiving fall-below service fees and failed GIRO deduction charges for retail bank accounts

MAS and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) launched the MAS SGD Facility to help banks and finance companies lower cost of loans to SMEs

20 April 2020

The new MAS SGD Facility made available two-year SGD funding to eligible financial institutions at an interest rate of 0.1% per annum, to support their lending to SMEs under the ESG Loan Schemes. This would help SMEs manage their cashflow better amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The facility also reinforced MAS’ efforts to ensure ample SGD funding to banks, so that they could continue to play their role in providing credit to individuals and businesses in Singapore.

MAS worked with ACRA and SGX RegCo to introduce measures that enabled listed issuers to conduct general meetings in accordance with safe distancing measures

13 April 2020

These measures included the introduction of legislative provisions to provide legal certainty to listed issuers, and the publication of a checklist on the conduct of general meetings during the period when elevated safe distancing measures were in place. In view of the practical challenges posed by the safe distancing measures, listed issuers were also given more time to hold their annual general meetings and to release their unaudited full year financial statements.

SGX RegCo, in consultation with MAS, announced relief measures to support listed issuers amid the challenging business and economic climate

8 April 2020

In particular, the measures allowed mainboard issuers to seek an enhanced share issue limit from their shareholders for pro-rata share issuances of up to 100% of its share capital (compared to 50% previously).  This enabled the acceleration of fund-raising efforts for the listed issuers.

MAS, MOF and IRAS announced new measures to help REITs navigate operating challenges posed by COVID-19

16 April 2020

The measures were intended to provide S-REITs with greater flexibility to manage their cashflows and raise funds amid a challenging operating environment. They comprised an extension of the deadline for distribution of taxable income by MOF and IRAS, as well as a raising of the leverage limit by MAS.

MAS, MOF, IRAS and ESG announced additional loan and cashflow support for landlords and businesses affected by COVID-19

3 June 2020

The measures, announced by the Ministry of Finance (MOF), the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), Enterprise Singapore (ESG), and MAS were intended to support landlords that may face cash flow constraints as a result of providing relief to tenants as proposed under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment) Bill. This package of measures would help landlords with their existing loan commitments, and ease their cashflow needs.

MAS, Securities Industry Council and SGX RegCo introduced temporary measures to allow electronic dissemination of rights issue and take-over documents

6 May 2020

The temporary measures enabled rights issues and take-over or merger transactions to take place while reducing the manpower needed to be physically present at workplaces to prepare, print and deliver a large number of offer documents.