DATE OF RELEASE: 16 APRIL 2020 - Our nation is facing a pandemic which is animosity among families which is mounting daily. Companies and SMEs are closing down with workers taking pay cuts or receiving no pay, while the self-employed are finding it hard to sustain their families. All these are due do the Covid 19 and the Movement Control Order (MCO) which has been extended further.
The government came up with stimulus package to assist those badly hit by the MCO. Banks also came up with their assistance programme to consumers by declaring a moratorium of 6 months payments on loans to enquire or clarify their issues.
FOMCA has been receiving a lot of enquiries related to banking issues. Consumers are calling FOMCA as the banks do not appear to have proper communication channel for the customers who have taken up loans with banks.
What the public need at the moment is a clear communication between the consumer and the bank. All ambiguity needs to be cleared. Consumers have a lot of questions. The appropriate correct responses should be from a well -informed bank officer. Hence, the banks must have an effective mode of communication for the consumers to call and enquire on whatever information they need in relation to the moratorium.
The main queries by consumers are on the status of their loans such as housing loans, car loans personal loans, or on credit card repayments.
Consumers are afraid that there will be legal action taken if they defer to pay their loans on time for the next six months as there is no black and white from the banks. Although banks declared the moratorium but there is no letter or statement from the banks notifying their customers.
It would be better if the banks issue letters to assure the customers in simple language that there will be no legal action taken if customers defer the payment for the next six months. They should also state the amount that they have to pay upon the completion of the moratorium. The post-effect of the moratorium needs to be mentioned so that customers will be well prepared to resume the payment.
Some customers have indicated that the response by the bank were too harsh and were not of any help. In these trying times, banks should use their emotional intelligence and the soft skills in solving the problems faced by the consumer.
Some consumers are illiterate in banking terms, so it will be wise for banks to state in simple language on the matters asked being queried on.
Central Bank should play its role by directing the banks to provide assistance to their customers. Besides that, BNM should also put in instructions or advisory in simple language that the general public can understand.
BNM should initiate a method to ensure all banks send notifications to their customers the status of their loans. They need to create a system where customers will be able to get the much needed response to their enquiries.
Consumers, who face difficulties in contacting the banks or getting the legitimate responses, can lodge their complaints via FOMCA’s Facebook. They can also voice their grievances they had to encounter when dealing with the banks in the FOMCA’s Facebook.
Apart from that, consumers are advised to contact Agensi Kaunselling dan Pengurusan Kredit (AKPK) if they face any issues with regards to making financial payment. This agency will be able to guide you on how to manage your debt wisely. At this point of time, we have to manage our finances well,
Chief Operation Officer
FEDERATION OF MALAYSIAN CONSUMERS ASSOCIATIONS (FOMCA)
GABUNGAN PERSATUAN-PERSATUAN PENGGUNA MALAYSIA
NO. 24, JALAN SS1/22A, 47300 PETALING JAYA, SELANGOR
Contact Person: Dato Paul Selva Raj
Tel Office : +603-7876 4648
H/P : +6012-2385960