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Lending firms urged: Provide debt relief

The Securities and Exchange Commission has encouraged all lending and financing companies to extend debt relief to borrowers to help them cope with the impact of COVID-19.

“We call on financing and lending companies to adopt all possible measures that will help ease the burden of their borrowers amid this public health emergency, which has disrupted the everyday lives of Filipinos, including their livelihoods,” SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino said in a statement released this week.

The debt relief measures that companies may adopt include lowering of interest rates, waiver or reduction of penalties, charges, and other fees, loan term extension, suspension of collection, payment holiday, and debt consolidation.

Aside from that, the agenct said, lending and financing companies may also develop and implement their own programs as long as it would serve the same purpose to their borrowers.

Lending and financing companies have gone become subjects of complaints from borrowers and in response to this, the SEC, through the Corporate Governance and Finance Department, is communicating directly with them, to strongly encourage them to adopt schemes that will help their borrowers.

At present, a number of financing and lending companies have responded to the plea of SEC and adopted debt relief measures to help their borrowers.

One of those is the Philippine Finance Association which informed the Commission that at least 18 of its members have allowed the extension of payment deadlines, without penalties and fees, for borrowers.

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