Typhoon-affected banks get BSP relief

Financial firms in 9 regions battered by ‘Yolanda’

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Survivors walk past damaged homes at typhoon-hit Tacloban city, Leyte province, on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has approved a fresh set of regulatory relief measures meant to help banks affected by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” normalize their operations. AP PHOTO/AARON FAVILA

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has approved a fresh set of regulatory relief measures meant to help banks affected by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” normalize their operations.

In a statement, the BSP said the temporary relief measures would cover nine regions in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao that were affected by Yolanda, the strongest typhoon to ever make landfall.

The BSP determined the covered areas based on a report by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) of regions that were declared under a state of calamity last week.

“Similar relief measures were extended by the BSP to thrift and rural/cooperative banks in cities/provinces that were affected by natural calamities such as typhoons Labuyo, Santi, the southwest monsoon (Habagat) rains enhanced by Typhoon Maring and the [recent] magnitude 7.2 earthquake in Sagbayan, Bohol,” the central bank said.

Banks with branches or head offices in regions IV-A, IV-B, and V, for Luzon, regions VI to VIII in Visayas, and regions X to XIII are eligible for the relief measures.

Among the measures for thrift, rural and cooperative banks are the exclusion of existing loans of borrowers in affected areas from the computation of past-due ratios, and the reduction to 1 percent from 5 percent of the BSP’s required general loan-loss provision for restructured loans of borrowers in the affected areas.

The BSP said it would also waive penalties on legal reserves deficiencies of thrift, rural and cooperative banks in affected areas. A moratorium on monthly payments due to the BSP for banks under rehab would also be implemented.

Banks will also be allowed to provide financial assistance to their officers and employees who were affected by the calamity, including benefits and other forms of assistance that may not be within the scope of the existing BSP-approved fringe benefits.

The BSP said it would also grant a 60-day grace period for the settlement of outstanding rediscounting obligations to the central bank. Rediscounting loans may also be restructured, on a case-to-case basis.

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