Mexico City (Jessika Becerra). – About 4.7 million companies and individuals have requested their banks to deferment of payment of debts, with which they can cover them within four or six months without generating late fees and interest, the Association of Banks of Mexico (ABM) reported in a statement.

The agency reported that its Management Committee met Tuesday with the Parliamentary Group of the National Action Party (PAN) in the Senate of the Republic, in order to share the actions that the banking system has taken to help its clients before the economic crisis derived from the health contingency.

4.7 million asked to defer payment of debts. | Photo: Reforma

At the meeting, Luis Niño de Rivera, president of the ABM, explained to senators that the deferral program has benefited micro, small and medium-sized companies (MSMEs), cardholders, business loan customers, mortgages and individuals with business activities, among others.

Consulted, Mario Di Costanzo, former president of the National Commission for the Protection and Defense of Users of Financial Services (Condusef), stated that the deferrals program has represented a little oxygen for people who do not have liquidity due to quarantine and who have faced unforeseen expenses.

“The deferral program is going to be insufficient, there is going to be an increase in delinquency rates because there will be more than 5 million unemployed.”

“The banks helped where they can, but the government failed to create an employment support program,” he said.

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He noted that no banking program can beat unemployment, however many banks are going to be careful with cards and will be restricting credit limits.

“The strong part of the crisis has not yet started; until June-July we will see the strongest effects on delinquencies and it is possible that banks will launch other types of programs that allow debt restructuring in the medium term. Now the main problem is unemployment, “he said.

On the other hand, at the meeting, Raúl Martínez-Ostos, vice president of the ABM, assured that foreign investors are still watching the national performance with caution, waiting for clear signs about the direction the country will take.

Meanwhile, Eduardo Osuna, also vice president of the organization, commented that the challenge for banks is to support clients so that they can continue to refinance.

“The fundamental thing, he said, is that the payment culture prevails in the country,” he said.

Finally, Vice President Julio Carranza reiterated that banks are well capitalized and in adequate conditions to face the crisis.