Thousands of borrowers with performing bank loans are expected to apply for a postponement of their instalment for nine months in accordance with the government’s decree in effect as of Tuesday.
In fact, there was a flood of phone calls to banks by clients requesting clarification on the measure on Monday, insiders told Phileleftheros.
And there were long queues outside bank branches with borrowers wanting to know whether time was on their side considering that the end of the month, thus, one more instalment, is just around the corner.
Applications by those who want to take advantage of the legislation because their income has been affected by the coronavirus outbreak can be submitted in writing or by mail or e-mail or even by fax to financial institutions.
Completing the relevant application should be an easy task for households, businesses and those who are self-employed. In a simple statement they should say that they are confronted with financial difficulties due to the pandemic and a suspension of instatements is requested.
Requests by individuals and businesses are easier to be processed by banks that those by self-employed because of the income declared. In many cases this is lower than the actual one because of tax purposes.
The next step is how quickly an application will be evaluated. Insiders said banks do not want to aggravate the situation and are expected to approve or reject an application, if the client does not meet the criteria, within a very short time.
Beneficiaries are natural persons, legal entities governed by public law, self-employed individuals and businesses that record no delayed instalments by February 29, 2020 –that is, 30 days from the date provided for by existing contractual obligations.
This exceptional measure lasts for 30 days, which is from March 2020 – the date the decree was issued – till December 31, 2020.
The Ministry of Finance decree stipulates that “all instalments of capital and interest which are suspended will not become immediately due on the date the decree expires”.
And that upon expiry of the decree “the payment of instalments and interest shall resume and the required period of payment shall be automatically extended”.
By the suspension’s expiry date, at the end of 2020, and for those borrowers who are still unable to pay instalments a solution should be negotiated through the restructuring of the loan.
In addition to clients of commercial banks, applications for suspension of instalments can also be submitted by those whose loans are at credit companies, loan management companies, insurance companies and the Cyprus Land Development Organisation.
Cyprus Banks Association announcement
The Cyprus Banks Association said in a statement on Monday: “We would like to invite our fellow citizens to avoid visiting bank branches except for extremely important issues requiring immediate settlement along with physical presence. Bank clients should use alternative banking channels so that overcrowding at bank branches is avoided.”
On the suspension of payments, the Association calls on interested parties to also use alternative channels of communication with banks (eg. call centres, web banking, email communication).
“It is extremely important for all of us to assist in this great effort to limit unnecessary movement and mass crowds outside bank branches,” the statement also said.