Unions, Deco call for loan moratorium extension

Business associations, unions and the consumer protection association Deco have called for the deadline for access to bank moratoriums to be extended, warning that they have been an “oxygen balloon” for families and companies, Lusa news agency reported.

“One year after the beginning of the pandemic, the business sector now faces what will be the worst moment in terms of accumulated economic and financial fragility, with the enormous risk that this represents,” the head of Associação Empresarial de Portugal (AEP), Luís Miguel Ribeiro, told Lusa. 

“Therefore, AEP considers that the period [of new adhesions to the moratoriums] must be extended, given the urgency of the liquidity of the economic agents,” he added.

Miguel Ribeiro highlighted that “the lack of liquidity, aggravated by the pandemic crisis, constitutes a very serious constraint for companies.” He forecasts an increase in the “level of incidence of non-performing loans if there is no extension of the measure.”

Deco pointed out that “allowing new memberships and for a longer period may be a positive step” for some families faced with the drastic decrease in their income and for those who have not yet recovered them.

“For many families, the moratoriums have been an important oxygen balloon and will be decisive to avoid situations of non-compliance, namely if at the end of the moratorium period the family has managed to recover its income”, Natália Nunes from Deco told Lusa.

The Portuguese Association of Banks (APB) said on Sunday that although there are 3,700 million euros in credit moratoria granted in the scope of Covid-19 ending on Wednesday, this was not “a general factor of concern”.

The association that represents the national banking sector says that “banks will continue, after the period of validity of the moratoriums, within the legal and regulatory framework that is applicable to them, to monitor and evaluate the particular situation of each client and to promote solutions that allow, whenever possible, the punctual fulfillment of contracts by them.”