Kolkata: Some lenders — both banks and non-banks — have told their microfinance clients to pay loan instalments which have now fallen due, going against the spirit of Reserve Bank of India’s moratorium relief.

These lenders with sizeable loan exposure to NBFC-MFIs have also deducted the installments ignoring the request for moratorium.

They said the policy on moratorium is still a work under progress.

“The NBFC-MFIs have managed to collect repayment from the end-borrowers till March 21. So, there should not be any cash flow issue for them in this cycle. That’s why, we have insisted them to pay their instalments,” a private bank chief executive said. “The situation may change in the next two months. Our board will come out with a policy soon reflecting on what RBI said,” he said.

Another leading non-banking finance company (NBFC) is learnt to have called back loan against shares given to the promoter of a leading NBFC-MFI, anticipating future stress as cash flow for microfinance firms dried up.

Such moves have put MFIs in anxiety as the future lies uncertain in the absence of repayment collection while life and economy come to a standstill amid coronavirus epidemic. The pay day pressure multiplied their pain. NBFC-MFIs have suspended both loan disbursement and collection immediately after the country-wide lockdown was imposed.

RBI last week come out with relief measures for both individual and corporate borrowers since temporary disruptions in cash flows may destabilise their businesses, and in some cases, make lead to loss of income.

“Whether lenders will offer moratorium or not will technically depend on their respective policies, That’s the lacuna left by RBI,” a chief executive of a leading NBFC-MFI said.

The regulator allowed lenders to offer moratorium to the borrowers in stress. It has also told lenders to frame board approved polices on term loan moratorium and relief on working capital finances.

“The RBI scheme came too close to the month-end. With the country being on lockdown and boards working from home, there may be delays in rolling out the moratorium scheme (by lenders),” said Sanjaya Gupta, managing director at PNB Housing Finance. “We are going to pay all term loan instalments as we have enough liquidity,” he said.

The moratorium on terms loans, otherwise, is applicable to all segments, irrespective of the segment and the tenure of the term loans. The original repayment period for term loans will get extended by 90 days. For example, a loan repayable in 60 instalments maturing on March 1, 2025 will mature on June 1, 2025.

According to FAQ released by Indian Banks’ Association, firms may also request banks to re-assess their working capital requirements on account of disruption of their cash flows or elongating the working capital cycle.

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