Regional Updates: Moratorium on loans
Regulators and bank associations across CEE have introduced or suggested a moratorium on loans to mitigate potential adverse consequences of the coronavirus situation. Below is a bullet point summary regarding Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. No further details have been released at the time this paper was prepared. Based on information available at this stage the moratorium would apply to loans granted by/owed to local banks regulated by the relevant local regulator or at least governed by the given local law.
the government has issued a soft recommendation that banks allow a 3-month moratorium;
- this has recently been followed by a hard proposal to amend the law so as to allow for a borrower opt-in relief scheme whereby both personal/residential and corporate loans are subject to a 3 or 6 (at the borrower´s discretion) deferral (corporate borrowers are still obliged to pay interest on the loans, whereas for private individuals the moratorium includes both principal and appurtenances);
- the borrower must declare that his inability to meet contractual obligations is the direct result of the current Covid-19 pandemic, however, the banks will not independently verify such claims;
- an insolvency moratorium is currently being prepared that would absolve debtors of the duty to file a debtor´s insolvency petition, furthermore, creditors´ insolvency petitions would be suspended until 31 August, however this is still in the planning stages.
- the government has announced a moratorium on loans, covering capital, interest and fees;
- the moratorium should last by the end of 2020;
- it should apply to all residential and corporate loans including loans from employers to employees but not including non-performing loans already sold by banks;
- it should apply automatically, however, borrowers may opt out;
- at present, no insolvency moratoriums or other special measures have been enacted.
- banks through the Polish Banks Association have announced optional moratoriums on loans;
- the period of the moratorium can last up to 3 months;
- it should apply to residential, consumer and corporate loans, the definition is however rather vague and it is not certain to what extent it will be deemed to apply to large corporate loans and project loans;
- moratorium is not automatic but borrower should apply separately and demonstrate the deterioration of its situation due to the current pandemic; an email request is sufficient to apply;
- until today over 200 thousand customers have already applied for a moratorium under the proposed scheme;
- additionally, the so called “anti-crisis shield” act was passed by parliament and signed by the President of Poland on 31 March; it includes regulations which limit the maximum costs of consumer loans;
- at present, no insolvency moratoriums have been enacted; however, the Ministry of Justice is currently working on a draft bill which may introduce such moratorium for a period ending three months after the state of epidemic in Poland is called off;
- the moratorium will likely only apply to those businesses whose financial difficulties are the result of the Covid-19 pandemic and whose financial situation prior to the pandemic was sound.
the National Bank assures that it will provide for sufficient funds and cash on the market;
- the suspension of payment of instalments under the loans granted by banks and non-banking financial institutions was introduced by law for 1 to maximum 9 months, but no later than 31 December 2020, and is applicable for individuals whose revenues have been directly or indirectly affected by the serious situation generated by Covid-19 pandemic. The individual entrepreneurs and companies of any size and scope of activity can also benefit from the moratorium provided that their activities are totally or partially suspended for the duration of the emergency state as an effect of the decisions issued by the competent public authorities, they possess the certificate of emergency issued by the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Business Environment and they are not in insolvency at the date of request for application of the moratorium. In all cases, the moratorium can be applied only upon the borrowers’ request;
- the government has announced that it will increase the credit guarantee threshold for SMEs with RON 5 billion (approx. EUR 1 billion);
- loans for investments and working capital will have the interest subsidized by the state and the guarantee will be of 90% for loans up to RON 1 million and of 80% for those exceeding that amount;
- the banks have begun to offer the grace period for loan rates even prior to the enactment of the moratorium regulation.
up to 9 months postponement of loan rates was introduced, applicable only to consumer credits, individual entrepreneurs and SME´s;
- postponement is not granted automatically, a written request of the borrower is to be filed;
- previous unpaid rates disqualify the applicant;
- creditors have the obligation to publish the information on postponement opportunity on their websites;
- for postponed rates, additional security must not be required by the banks;
- as a consideration for the loan moratorium, the government declared its readiness to forgive the banking tax this year;
- banks had even earlier begun to offer the grace period for loan rates on individual basis;
- statutory period for debtor´s insolvency application has been prolonged from 30 to 60 days for insolvencies occurred between 12 March and 30 April 2020;
- temporary ban on mortgage/pledge executions and public auctions until 30 April 2020 has been introduced.
Any questions? Please contact: Dr Edina Schweizer, Konrad Werner, Luděk Chvosta, Gabriel Popa, Tomas Zaborsky, LL.M.
Practice group: Banking & Finance