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Republic Bank relaxes rules on late fees, loan repayments to help cushion impact of Coronavirus

Republic Bank (Guyana) Limited has started waiving late fees and other penalties on the repayment of credit card debts, loans and mortgages as well as allowing eligible customers to postpone loan repayments for the next six months, in keeping with a request by the Bank of Guyana to all commercial banks.

“In response to the anticipated impact as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Republic Bank recognizes that we have a collective responsibility to ensure the sustainability of the business community, our employees, customers and ultimately the nation,” Republic Bank said in a statement.

Republic Bank said that from Monday last (March 23), several measures would take effect and would be reviewed after the next six months. Republic Bank said there would be a reduction in overdraft interest rates.

The bank also announced that it would agree to postpone the repayment of personal loans and mortgages for up to six months upon request, debt restructuring would be considered on a case-by-case basis, and there will be a temporary increase of overdraft and credit card limits on a case by case basis.

Republic Bank says it will grant automatic waivers for the next six months on credit card late fees and over-limit fees from March 23, late fees on loan payments, penalties for early withdrawal of Certificates of Deposit and disposable commercial depository wallet fee.

Small medium enterprises, commercial and corporate customers, according to the bank, will also be allowed to postpone loan repayments for up to six months upon request, debt restructuring will be considered on a case by case basis, and a temporary increase of overdraft and credit card limits on a case by case basis.

To be eligible for the moratorium and automatic waivers, customers must be in good standing with the Bank,” the bank added.

Republic Bank advises that all non-cash services including requests for moratoriums and debt restructuring can be initiated via email to [email protected]. Customers should include the branch at which their account is held, in the subject line of the email. Republic Bank specifically assured that it will not send customers email requesting that they respond sharing any confidential banking information.

“As we all do our part in limiting the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and in line with the urgings of the authorities around social distancing, the Bank requests that customers consider minimizing their visits to the branches where possible,” by using the Bank’s digital and electronic channels such as RepublicOnline, RepublicMobile, ATMs and using their debit and credit cards at point-of-sale terminals instead of cash.

“Avoid banking halls if you have flu-like symptoms and instead contact the Bank at 223-7938 to 49 or your Branch to enquire how we may facilitate your banking needs otherwise postpone transactions if not urgent,” the bank said.

“Republic Bank wishes to urge customers to continue observing the recommended hygienic practices to help prevent the spread of the virus and be mindful of those who may be more vulnerable around you. By observing these practices, together we can help protect ourselves, our families and communities,” the bank said.

For specific COVID-19 information from Republic Bank, visit www.republicguyana.com/covid19.

Republic Bank announced its decision three days after the Bank of Guyana Governor, Dr. Gobind Ganga wrote the Chairman of the Guyana Association of Bankers Inc Richard Isava urging commercial banks to soften the impact of COVID-19 on customers. “As Guyana continues to implement measures to deal with COVID-19, the Bank of Guyana is cognisant of the likely economic and financial fallout that may result including particularly the negative effects on the banking system. In this regard, the Bank of Guyana strongly encourages banks and other financial institutions to offer relief to affected individual and commercial customers…,” Ganga said.

The Governor of the Central Bank told the Guyana Association of Bankers that it would allow banks to renegotiate credit facilities, allow for a three-month postponement on loan repayments “to classify affected accounts as non-performing”, and ensure the foreign market continues to function to satisfy legitimate needs as well as ensure compliance with rules governing cambio operations.

Dr Ganga says the Bank of Guyana notes that the financial system is safe and sound and reiterates the critical role banks play in the economy. He added that the Central Bank would continue to monitor COVID-19 and the evolving economic conditions and may consider other measures if necessary.