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Jakarta Post

P2P lending platforms struggle with risky loans amid COVID-19

  • Eisya A. Eloskari

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, June 4, 2020   /   08:37 am
P2P lending platforms struggle with risky loans amid COVID-19

The fintech industry might be struggling with risky loans as lenders in peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms turned down more than half of loan restructuration request from debtors as the pandemic impacts people’s finances, a survey shows.

Out of 1.96 million loan restructuration requests received by 88 P2P lending platforms in May, only 34 percent of them were granted, with the rest denied by the lenders, Indonesian Fintech Lenders Association (AFPI) data show.

The total amount of reported outstanding loans that were requested to be restructured in May stood at Rp 1.08 trillion (US$75.9 million), with just Rp 236.9 billion approved by the lenders.

“Fintech P2P lending platforms can only facilitate loan restructuring requests from borrowers to lenders but the authority to grant eased loan payment lies with the lender,” said AFPI spokesperson Tumbur Pardede in a press conference on Tuesday. 

The Financial Services Authority (OJK) has previously stated that lenders, not platforms, bear the risks for loans in fintech lending.

Association members have different mechanisms in managing requests to ease loan repayment, as it depends on the condition of each borrower. Those who defaulted prior to the pandemic will not likely receive restructuration, Tumbur said.

Tumbur also said a loan would be considered to have defaulted once the borrower failed to fulfill the repayment within 90 days past the due date.

Previously, the association noted that the pandemic had decreased the 90-day success loan settlement rate (TKB90) to 95.78 percent in March compared to 96.08 percent in February, AFPI managing director Kuseryansyah said.

“This was to be expected but the decrease in loan repayment rate is still in the normal range, showing good repayment capacity,” he said.

According to the OJK, the non-performing loan (NPL) ratio in March stood at 4.22 percent, an increase from 3.98 percent in January and 3.93 percent in February.

Despite a higher NPL ratio, the OJK noted that as of April, fintech P2P lending financing had reached Rp 106 trillion, indicating a staggering 186.5 percent growth year-on-year.

The AFPI also still expected more loan disbursement post-COVID-19.

Meanwhile, P2P lending platforms have established their own terms to facilitate borrowers affected by the pandemic.

P2P lending platform Pinjam Modal, for example, has eliminated the late payment fine for borrowers whose businesses have been impacted by COVID-19.  

Furthermore, to help borrowers, AFPI chairman Adrian Gunadi said the association was in talks with the OJK to temporarily increase the limit for funding to Rp 10 billion from the current Rp 2 billion to help them recover after the pandemic.

“We are discussing this plan because some platforms need to be able to raise more money, especially for businesses to prepare for the post-pandemic situation,” he said.

Adrian added that only businesses in certain sectors that are crucial during the pandemic such as medical and food and beverage could apply for the incentive.

Commenting on the matter, OJK spokesperson Sekar Putih Djarot urged the AFPI to encourage its members to ease the burden of the borrowers affected by the pandemic. However, the agency reasserted that fintech P2P lending companies could not act as lenders like banks.

“As its main function is as a platform, fintech P2P lending companies do not have the authority to restructure loans,” Sekar said on Tuesday.

During the press conference, the AFPI also announced eight new P2P lending platforms licensed by the OJK, namely Alami, Awan Tunai, Dana Rupiah, Indodana, Julo, Pinjam Modal, Pinjam Win/Win and Teralite.

The eight platforms bring the total number of licensed fintech P2P lending platforms to 33.

Currently, there are an estimated 128 other fintech P2P lending companies that have been registered but have yet to be licensed, OJK data show.