SEC issues clarification on mandatory grace period for loan payments

SEC-building-main office

THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said the amended guidelines issued by an interagency task force do not extend the grace period on loan payments set under a law to combat the pandemic.

The corporate watchdog released the advisory to clarify the non-extension of the moratorium on loan payments to financing companies (FCs), lending companies (LCs), and microfinance nongovernmental organizations (MF-NGOs) falling due within the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period.

“The amended guidelines issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases does not extend the 30-day grace period mandated by the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act during the ECQ period from March 29 to April 4 [this year],” the commission said in an advisory dated on March 30.

Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act provides a provision on a 30-day grace period for the payment of loans to FCs, LCs, and MF-NGOs.

The SEC clarified that the mandatory grace period under the law only covers dates from March to May of last year.

However, the commission encouraged lending facilities to give the borrowing public due consideration because of the pandemic’s impact.

“The SEC strongly encourages FCs, LCs, and MF-NGOs to continue implementing debt relief measures such as lowering of interest rates, waiver of reduction of penalties, charges and other fees, payment holiday, debt consolidation, extension of loan terms, and provision of flexible payment schedules… based on the continuing assessment of their cash flows,” the corporate regulator said.

Debt relief requests shall be given to the concerned FC, LC, or MF-NGO.

The SEC said accredited FCs, LCs, and MF-NGOs under Republic Act No. 106903 or the Microfinance NGOs Act have been given regulatory relief measures by the commission and other related regulatory authorities to give allowance for their continuous service amid the pandemic.

“The SEC will also consistently and closely monitor the impact of the pandemic on FCs, LCs, and MF-NGOs to immediately implement policies that shall sustain the regulated entities’ operations and assist in their economic recovery,” the commission said. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte