Almost all banks and financing companies have offered loan restructuring programs to help their clients in a harsh market environment as COVID-19 has disrupted almost all business sectors, a senior official has said.
Financial Services Authority (OJK) chairman Wimboh Santoso said during a teleconference with House of Representatives Commission XI, which oversees financial affairs, that 56 conventional banks, 13 sharia-compliant banks, seven regional development banks, 64 rural banks and 110 financing companies had offered loan restructuring programs so far.
“[These institutions] have demonstrated their commitment in offering restructuring options for customers experiencing financial difficulties due to the impact of the coronavirus,” Wimboh said on Tuesday, adding that the actual numbers may be higher because “there might be banks that have done so but we have yet to receive the information”.
The relief provided by banks is in line with the OJK Regulation No. 11 of 2020, which instructs financial institutions to provide relief for borrowers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
The regulation, which was issued last month, stipulates that the debt or financing could be restructured by lowering interest rates, extending repayment periods, reducing principal and interest arrears, adding debt or financing facilities or converting debt or financing into temporary equity participation.
“The scheme can be different for every client. Banks and financial institutions can discuss with their clients which scheme to choose,” Wimboh noted, adding that he hoped the policy would give the parties involved some breathing room.
During the House hearing, Wimboh said hundreds of thousands of borrowers had already been covered by the restructuring programs. At state-owned banks alone, the value of restructured debt amounted to Rp 28.7 trillion (US$1.76 billion).
Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) has restructured debt of more than 130,000 borrowers with a total value of Rp 14.9 trillion. Fellow state-owned lenders Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI), Bank Tabungan Negara (BTN) and Bank Mandiri offered relief to some 6,200, 17,400 and 10,500 borrowers, respectively, for loans totalling Rp 6.9 trillion, Rp 2.8 trillion and Rp 4.1 trillion.
The OJK is trying to increase awareness of the policy through its communication channels and thus far has seen a significant increase in traffic across its different communication platforms.
Tirta Segara, the OJK's commissioner of consumer protection and education, said during the meeting on Tuesday that the OJK’s WhatsApp communication, reachable at +6281157157157, had seen a surge in traffic. On a normal day, the OJK received up to 275 messages on WhatsApp, but since the restructuring program was announced, it had received up to 2,500 messages a day.
“We apologize to the consumers whom we can’t reply to right away,” Tirta said.
Requests via email had also increased, rising to approximately 750 emails per day from the usual 250. At its call center, the OJK recently handled up to 600 phone calls per day, up from the usual 400 to 500.
The OJK recently released a list of banks and financial institutions that are offering relief. Alongside the release, OJK spokesperson Sekar Putih Djarot encouraged the public get in touch with their respective bank or financing company for further inquiries.