“Bank Rakyat Offers Moratorium on Repayments of RM6 Bil Loans”

Bank Rakyat has given a moratorium on repayments worth RM6 billion to its customers impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the six-month moratorium time, its chief executive Rosman Mohamed said the country’s largest Islamic cooperative bank refrained from raising around RM1 billion per month.

Given the immense amount involved, he added, there was a need for initiative to assist those impacted by the outbreak.

Ruang Bicara said that help does not come from the government alone, the whole nation should be chiping in. All wants to help bring the economy back on track. However, Rosman said that after the moratorium period, Bank Rakyat will be tight in terms of monitoring and debt recovery.

They were looking for options to make sure they can pay on the loans. They’re trying to do it tactfully because at the same time we have to offer the lenders counsel, too. For them, this is a collective obligation. If someone want to be competitive with Bank Rakyat, and if someoone want the bank to keep paying dividends, taxes and zakat, then it needs to move ahead.

The bank has about 900,000 shareholders, of whom 70 percent belong to the B40 household income group. He said the bank should maintain “some stability” in terms of repayment for B40 community lenders who faced payback problems even after the conclusion of the moratorium era.

In addition to the moratorium as part of the economic stimulus plan for Prihatin, Bank Rakyat has provided RM300 million under the Bank Rakyat Cares (BRCares) program, which runs until Sept 30. The initiative focuses on supporting pandemic-affected cooperatives, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), woman entrepreneurs and micro-enterprises, as well as retail-based firms.

Borrowers are given a grace period of nine months before repaying their first instalment, Rosman said. Bank Rakyat, with roughly 1.3 million customers and RM109 billion in reserves, posted a net group income of RM1.15 billion for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2019 and announced a dividend of 14 percent.

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