Citibank offers debt payment relief to those displaced by Bohol-Cebu quake

By: Doris C. Dumlao, October 21st, 2013 04:33 PM

MANILA, Philippines — Global banking giant Citibank has offered debt payment relief to credit cardholders and personal loan customers who were victimized by the recent 7.2-magnitude earthquake that devastated Central Visayas.

Similar to credit accommodations implemented by Citi twice in the past when storm Ondoy and southwest monsoons ravaged greater Metro Manila, Citi announced that clients affected by the recent earthquake might ask for a relief of at least 30 days to settle their outstanding balances.

To avail themselves of this leeway, the affected clients are advised to call the 24-hour CitiPhone at 995-9999.

Qualified cardholders and personal loan customers will be entitled to an extra 30 days to settle their outstanding balance from their most recent payment due date. Late payment charges will be waived, and interest charges may be waived on a case to case basis.

Batara Sianturi, Citi Philippines CEO explained that this move would ensure continued access to credit for affected customers.

“This is not the first time that Citi extended payment relief to provide assistance to our customers. Through this program, we hope to give our clients time to settle their card bill or loan account and enjoy continued access to credit, which should be very useful to them in their current situation.”

The first time that Citi offered debt payment relief was during typhoon Ondoy, when Metro Manila was brought to a standstill, with many areas inundated by floods and homes destroyed. At that time, Citi’s payment holiday was extended to targeted areas hardest hit by Typhoon Ondoy. The second time was last year following the extensive flooding brought about by the southwest monsoon.

Citi has branches in Cebu City and Davao City.

“We have been monitoring closely the situation through our officers and employees from Cebu and Davao, who I am pleased to report are all safe together with their families,” Sianturi said.

With aftershocks felt the day after the earthquake, Citi suspended branch operations in Cebu City and encouraged clients to transact through its online, phone and mobile banking channels. “For the safety of our clients and employees, we sought the approval of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and they were very supportive of our plans,” he added.

The 7.2-magnitude earthquake that shook Bohol was also felt in nearby areas with various earthquake intensities recorded in Cebu City, Negros Occidental, Guimaras Island, Bacolod City, and Leyte, stretching to Davao City, Zamboanga Peninsula, Antique and Surigao del Sur.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council estimated that 3.2 million people were affected by the earthquake.

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