URUS in line with holistic debt management, financial planning solutions, says central bank

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 — The introduction of the Financial Management and Resilience Programme (URUS) is in line with the country’s efforts to put in place holistic debt management and financial planning solutions, said Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).

Its Governor, Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus said the central bank has been working with the Counselling and Credit Management Agency (AKPK) on these initiatives to provide appropriate support to borrowers so that they not only meet their loan obligations but importantly, return to a firmer financial footing.

“This will strengthen the financial resilience of borrowers in the longer term,” she said in a statement today.

Nor Shamsiah said BNM welcomes the introduction of URUS by the banking industry and AKPK to assist those who continued to be affected by Covid-19.

URUS is aimed at assisting B50 borrowers that have lost their jobs or experiencing an income loss of at least 50 per cent.

Eligible borrowers can approach their banks starting from Nov 15, 2021 to Jan 31, 2022 to apply.

She said customers who are not eligible for URUS may also approach their banks to discuss other repayment solutions that suit their financial circumstances.

According to the statement, further enhancements to the BNM Fund for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) will be announced during the upcoming Budget 2022.

“Despite heightened credit risks, bank’s financing to SMEs continues to expand with additional capacity provided through the fund and credit guarantee schemes,” she said.

For the first six months of 2021, a total of RM154 billion was disbursed to SMEs, four per cent higher than the pre-pandemic level, said BNM.

Since the start of the pandemic, a total of RM18 billion had been allocated under the fund to augment financing by the banking system to SMEs, while loans outstanding for the SME segment increased by six per cent over the same period last year, it added.

“Efforts are also underway to develop alternative debt-equity and blended financing initiatives to enable SMEs to have access to a wider range of appropriate financing options across their growth cycle.

“This will be important to lower the leverage and strengthen the long-term resilience and capacity of SMEs, and increase their contribution to the economy,” added Nor Shamsiah. — Bernama