Coronavirus pandemic

DBS unveils more relief measures for customers, SMEs

DBS Bank retail customers will be able to defer their mortgage repayment for the rest of the year and convert their outstanding credit to a loan of up to five years.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can also apply to DBS for a collateral-free loan of up to $100,000, double the amount previously, with no processing fees.

The latest tranche of measures to support consumers and businesses was unveiled by DBS yesterday.

It is the bank's third round of liquidity relief measures during the coronavirus outbreak, going beyond the guidelines set out by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to reduce the burden on borrowers earlier this week.

DBS said that the deferment of home loan principals and interest payments until December will have no impact on individuals' records, and no late payment interest will be charged.

Those converting their outstanding balances on their credit cards or DBS Cashline into a term loan of up to five years will also have their interest rates capped at 7.96 per cent. There will be no penalty for early repayment.

Banks typically charge 26 per cent interest for outstanding balances on credit cards. MAS had said that interest for converted term loans should be capped at 8 per cent.

On new measures announced to support SMEs, DBS said it is going "above and beyond" government measures to alleviate SMEs' cash flow woes.

In addition to doubling the maximum sum of collateral-free loan to up to $100,000, DBS said SMEs that take the loan will also not have to start paying instalments in the first year, up from the three months that was announced earlier.

Processing fees, which are usually pegged at 1 per cent of the loan amount, will be waived completely.

They will continue to pay interest in this period.

SMEs refinancing their commercial property loans will also not have to pay their instalments for nine months.

They still have to pay the interest on the loans during this moratorium, but the move should give SMEs greater flexibility with their cash flow, DBS said.

In line with the Government's relief measures announced earlier this week, SMEs can choose to defer principal payments on their secured term loans up to Dec 31, subject to banks' and finance companies' assessment of the quality of their security.

They can also extend the tenure of their loans by the same duration by which they have chosen to defer their principal payments.

DBS Singapore country head Shee Tse Koon said: "Amid the uncertainty engendered by the Covid-19 pandemic, we hope these measures will help ease some of the financial concerns on our customers' minds."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2020, with the headline DBS unveils more relief measures for customers, SMEs. Subscribe