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Loan restructuring sought

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The Cambodia Microfinance Association (CMA) on Monday said at least 110,000 debtors who have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic had requested loan restructuring. Hong Menea

Loan restructuring sought

The Cambodia Microfinance Association (CMA) on Monday said at least 110,000 debtors who have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic had requested loan restructuring, with the number expected to increase.

CMA spokesperson Kaing Tongngy told The Post that as of May 8, around 110,000 debtors had asked to either delay loan repayments or restructure it.

“Ninety per cent of the requests were approved by microfinance institutions [MFIs]. The number could jump,” he said.

Tongngy said he could not provide detailed information as to what sectors the debtors came from or where they live, as loans were given out at the discretion of each MFI.

He said loan restructuring could only be processed following individual requests based on conditions set by the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC).

In March, he said the NBC laid out nine conditions for MFIs to follow in granting such requests. Debtors are allowed to pay either interest or principal.

He said most debtors had requested between three and six months’ grace period and agreed to pay only interests.

Prasac executive vice-president Say Sony said on Monday that there were less than a thousand requests for loan restructuring among its more than 400,000 customers. He said Prasac approved each request based on the conditions set by the NBC.

“Most of the requests are from Siem Reap province because they [customers] are in one of the four sectors prioritised by the NBC. But the number of those who requested loan restructuring is not high, I can say less than a thousand,” he said.

Sony said Siem Reap was the first province to feel the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic because tourism is the main revenue earner there.

“In responding to our clients’ requests, we assess their situation and discuss with them to find an appropriate solution that is acceptable to both parties.

“We have been addressing the issue based on the principal that they owed, type of clients, seriousness of the impact on them, and the actual situation of each customer by following the NBC’s guidelines,” he said.

In Channy, the president and group managing director of Acleda Bank Plc, said on Monday that he did not have the figures in hand for the number of clients who have requested loan restructuring. Some requests, he said, are partially approved if customers are found to still have regular income.

In March, the NBC issued a circular directing banks and MFIs to pay particular attention to those in the four sectors most impacted by the pandemic – tourism, garment, construction and transport.

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