Turkey: Private banks pledge support in face of virus

Following state lenders, private lenders, participation banks also declare support for real sector amid coronavirus outbreak

Four Turkish private lenders and participation banks IsBank, Akbank, Ziraat Katilim, and Vakif Katilim on Monday announced packages to support economic activities in Turkey, following the recommendations of the Turkish Banking Association (TBB) to tackle the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The association has recommended easing credit access and providing flexibility to all lenders for customers “who need additional loans due to a provisional disruption in their revenues-expenses balance, have difficulty in the timely repayment of their liabilities, and intend to repay their debt on time.”

Economists stressed that with the contribution of all private sector banks to economic support packages initiated by public banks, both companies and individual customers will survive this difficult period with the least losses.

The banks said in separate statements that they will postpone both corporate and personal loan repayments and also provide flexibility to their customers.

The banks will provide long-term postponements of up to 12 months for some sectors affected by the outbreak the most, such as tourism and public transportation.

Firms will be given extra credit limits to ease their check payments and operation costs.

Taking steps in this direction, Isbank became the first private bank to announce its support, saying all the necessary support, including grace periods, will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

This will be done without any sector distinction, particularly in the tourism, logistics, shopping center, and retail sectors, which have been hurt by the epidemic, it said.

The bank said small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro enterprises will be supported in order to fulfill commercial obligations they entered into before the epidemic, and if necessary, maximum efforts will be made for support.

No Isbank customers will be charged through April 30 (including card-to-card transfer) for EFT / wire transfer transactions through digital channels, it said, adding that credit card limits will be increased if customers, especially in their health and food supplies, need it for shopping.

According to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University, the novel coronavirus has infected over 350,400 worldwide, killing more than 15,000, while nearly 100,000 have recovered.

The virus emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, and has spread to more than 180 countries and territories. The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a pandemic.

China, Italy, Iran, and Spain continue to be the worst-affected countries.

Cases in Turkey total 1,236, with a death toll of 30 people.

Anadolu Agency

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