Banks extend grace periods for loan repayments

By James Loyola

The country’s top banks have started to announce grace periods for the payment of loans as clients grapple with the effects of COVID-19 and the government-imposed enhanced community quarantine.

BDO Unibank announced a 60-day payment extension for qualified credit card, auto, home, SME and personal loan customers with due dates of up to April 15, 2020.

“We understand that the current situation makes it difficult, even impossible, for everyone to make their payments. We don’t want you to worry about this. We all need to focus on keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe,” BDO said.

Security Banking Corporation and Philippine Savings Bank also announced their own 30-day grace periods. “To help alleviate the plight of our borrowers during this time, all customers with a Credit Card, Home Loan, Personal Loan, Auto Loan, Business Mortgage Loan, or Business Express Loan whose payment status is current (with no past due balance) as of March 16, 2020 will have their due date extended by 30 days,” Security Bank said.

Meanwhile, new product applications such as loans will but put on hold and all scheduled releases will be appropriately re-scheduled.

PSBank said it is extending a 30-day grace period on loan payments of qualified auto, home, and personal loan clients.

Security Bank said selected branches in Metro Manila will be open on shortened hours but all its ATMs and CAMs are operational. All branches in Visayas and Mindanao will remain open.

The bank is also offering eGiveCash without fees until further notice. This will be applied to both retail (via Security Bank Online) and corporate clients (via Digibanker, excluding corporate clients with proprietary front-end systems).

It is also waiving all withdrawal fees until further notice “to ensure that you will not have to travel far just to withdraw cash. This means that Security Bank ATM cardholders may withdraw from any bank’s ATM -- Security Bank or not -- without any fees. This is applicable nationwide.”

Meanwhile, FWD Life Insurance Philippines (FWD Insurance) announced that it will be providing additional benefits to eligible policyholders who are diagnosed with COVID-19.

The FWD COVID-19 Ready special coverage will be provided to policyholders of individual plans—except FWD Peace, Set Ka Na, and Kandüü plans – KanMend, KanLive, and KanGuard--issued and active before March 1, 2020.

Under the special coverage, which will be in effect from March 9 to April 15, 2020, additional medical benefit of P100,000 will be provided to the policyholder upon diagnosis and within 48 hours after complete claim submission.

Should death occur due to COVID-19, an additional funeral benefit of P50,000 will be given to the beneficiary, FWD said.

“FWD COVID-19 Ready is on top of our policyholders’ existing life insurance plans and riders and is meant to provide an extra level of protection amidst these uncertain times,” Li Hao Zhuang, FWD Insurance president and chief executive said.

In addition, FWD Insurance said that it is also providing additional benefits and consideration amid the COVID-19 situation.

These include extension of insurance premium payment grace period to 90 days for customers with confirmed COVID-19 cases, and extension of insurance premium payment grace period to 60 days for all other customers.

FWD will also accept all insurance benefit claims even beyond 30 days and soft copies of all insurance claim documents.