|Saturday, 7 June 2003|
On the initiative of BOC's Chairman, Mrs. Sumi Moonesinghe, one of the most comprehensive financial-aid packages offered by a single local institution has just been announced. The BOC, the country's leading bank has allocated Rs. 500 million for financial relief to its customers who have been affected by the recent floods. Under this package the BOC's customers in the flood affected areas of the Sabaragamuwa and Southern Provinces and Western Province (South) will benefit. In a media briefing the Chairman explained that while the relief package specially focuses on farmers, small and medium entrepreneurs and industrialists who are customers of the bank and whose businesses have been badly affected, there is also relief for customers by way of distress loans for house repairs and purchase of household utensils, school books, uniforms, medical treatment and furniture.
Giving an outline of the financial package, Mrs Moonesinghe said that it consisted of the following:
* Rescheduling of the existing facilities granted under the approved schemes, with a moratorium of a maximum of one year for repayment of interest and capital. Interest due and/or accruing during this period will be capitalised. Capital recovery will commence after the period of moratorium and the repayment will be extended accordingly. Furthermore the interest capitalised will be recovered within a maximum period of 3 years at zero interest.
* Provision of new facilities under the approved schemes to meet the cost of rehabilitation of projects affected by the floods. Up to 100 per cent of the cost will be financed to a maximum of Rs. 1 million. The applicable rate of interest will be 12 per cent p.a. Repayment will be decided by the cash flow up to a maximum of 5 years. In the case of those who have taken a Small and Medium Industry loans a fresh facility will be considered which will not exceed Rs. 5 million including the outstanding of the existing loan. The interest rate will be 12 per cent p.a.
* Low interest facility for pawning. Unlike the other relief offers this will be considered for customers and non-customers. The maximum facility will be for Rs. 30,000 per individual at an interest rate of only 9 per cent p.a.
* Distress loans for customers with a good bank record. Here there will be two types of loans. The first will be for purchase of household equipment and items like school books and uniforms and also for medicines. The maximum amount of the loan will be Rs. 40,000 at an interest rate of 10.5 per cent p.a. The moratorium will be for 3 months and the repayment period will be 3 years. The second type of loan is for house repairs where a maximum loan of Rs. 100,000 will be given at an interest rate of 10.5 per cent p.a.
The maximum moratorium will be for 6 months and maximum repayment period will be 5 years.
* Housing loans under the government sponsored low-cost housing scheme. Under this scheme a maximum of Rs. 500,000 will be given at a rate of interest of 10.5 per cent p.a. and the repayment period will be a maximum of 15 years.
She added that like in the case of all relief packages there will be a screening of loan applications to ensure that only the deserving will benefit. She also pointed out that both customers and non-customers will understand and appreciate that having a good track record in all dealings with Bank of Ceylon brings unexpected benefits specially in times of desperate need caused by unforseen calamities.
Managers of all BoC branches in the provinces mentioned have been instructed to give top priority in dealing with applications for this relief package.
Produced by Lake House