UPDATE 1 – Slovak banks agree to defer loans for up to 9 months – Minister of Finance
(Add details, background)
PRAGUE, April 3 (Reuters) – Slovakian banks have agreed to postpone loans and mortgages for up to nine months to help those affected by the measures taken to stem the coronary heart epidemic, Slovakia’s minister for coronary heart disease said on Friday. Finances, Eduard Heger.
The deal creates another hotline after the government on Tuesday approved an 834 million euros ($ 899.72 million) aid package for businesses and workers affected by the coronavirus crisis.
“The purpose of this aid is to ensure that no one loses a roof over their head,” Heger said, adding that the deferrals will be offered to individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses with up to 250 employees.
As part of previously approved measures, the government will offer bank guarantees of up to € 500 million per month and pay 80% of the salaries of employees of companies forced to close.
It will also offer financial support to the self-employed and employees of companies experiencing a drop in income, with payments linked to the drop in income.
The loan deferral will not affect customers’ credit history. It is subject to the approval of the government and the Parliament.
“We are ready, as a banking sector, to support the country and defend our customers,” said Alexander Resch, president of the Slovak Association of Banks.
The banks had not called for the removal of a tax on the banking sector as a condition of the deal, said Prime Minister Igor Matovic, who came to power last month.
Some commentators had urged the government to abolish the additional tax on bank profits – introduced in 2012 to act as a buffer against possible future crises in the eurozone country – in order to persuade lenders to accept loan deferrals. .
Slovakia, which has a population of 5.5 million, has so far reported 450 cases of the coronavirus. Most stores and restaurants have been closed as part of measures to contain the spread of the virus, while a number of factories, including the country’s four auto plants, have halted production.
The central bank has predicted that the Slovak economy will contract by 1.4% to 9.4% this year, while the unemployment rate could rise by 7.5% to 10% from 5% currently. ($ 1 = 0.9270 euros) (Report by Tomas Mrva, written by Robert Mueller, edited by Susan Fenton)