The Executive Board of the Association of Banks in Bulgaria (ABB) welcomes the decision of the Governing Council of the Bulgarian National Bank, announced on April the 10th, 2020, to approve the “Procedure for Deferral and Settlement of Liabilities Payable to Banks and their Subsidiaries – Financial Institutions in relation to the state of emergency enforced by the National Assembly on 13 March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic” /Procedure for deferral/. The Procedure is based on the Guidelines on legislative and non-legislative moratoria on loan repayments applied in the light of the COVID-19 crisis (EBA/GL/2020/02) adopted by the European Banking Authority (EBA).
The Procedure offers options for deferral of liabilities. It does not represent an opportunity for debt write-off or reduction, with the postponed installments remain due.
In the document prepared by the ABB and already approved by the BNB, the banks in Bulgaria offer to their borrowers affected by the effects of the pandemic, mechanisms to postpone their loan repayments. That may apply for a period of up to 6 months, ending no later than December the 31st, 2020. It may cover all amounts due or only principal. Customers may request postponing of their loan repayments at their banks no later than June, 22nd, 2020. The banks have to decide on the applications by June, 30th, 2020.
The ABB draws clients’ attention to the long period of implementation of the Procedure, as well as the need to follow closely the instructions, announcements and messages of banks on their official sites, in their branches or otherwise made. This is crucial to avoid the unwanted gathering of people in bank offices in the current epidemiological environment. In order to minimize their visits to the branch network, it is advisable for clients to consult their banks through the existing remote means.
For the main group of the bank clients, which will continue to repay their loan installments on a regular basis, according to the agreed repayment plans, no changes will occur with the adoption of the Procedure.
Banks in Bulgaria will continue to support households and businesses in this unprecedented situation and to play their key role as a stabilizing factor for the economy in the country. The full text of the Procedure for deferral can be found here.