MANILA - Bank of the Philippine Islands said Thursday it would give a 90-day deferral in loan payments to doctors, nurses and other medical workers as well as policemen and soldiers to provide financial relief during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The Ayala-owned will not collect interest or surcharges on the loans of frontline workers in efforts to contain the spread of the virus, BPI president and CEO Cezar Consing said.
"We admire what you’re doing. We know it's a huge sacrifice, you do this at great risk to yourself, this is the least we can do at this time," Consing told ANC.
"Don’t worry about paying us for the next 90 days."
BPI earlier said that it was giving a 30-day grace period for eligible clients to pay their auto, home, personal and other loans in light of the suspension of business activities from March 15 to April 12 because of the COVID-19 lockdown of Luzon.
Consing said clients need to call BPI to see if they are eligible for deferring loan payment.
The BPI chief clarified that the grace period applies to consumer loans and not business loans, which they will assess on a case to case basis.
"We are going to judge by ability, solvency, liquidity. We are going to do everything you can to keep you going," Consing said adding that the bank wanted to keep its business clients "alive."
While loan defaults are likely to rise because of reduced economic activity during the lockdown "the Philippine banking system has the capital and the wherewithal to deal with higher default rates."