MANILA – A bill seeking to strengthen the resiliency of the country’s financial industry has gained traction with its second reading approval in the House of Representatives.
During a plenary session on Thursday, the lower chamber passed on second reading House Bill 6816, or the proposed Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer Act, which aims to help banks and other financial institutions in their bad debt resolution and management of their non-performing assets (NPAs) to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their operations.
House committee on banks and financial intermediaries chairman Junie Cua, sponsor of the bill, said most financial institutions are facing a period of delayed loan collections and are at risk of recording higher NPAs across all borrower segments as a result of the disruption in economic activities.
NPAs are financial institutions’ non-performing loans (NPLs) and real and other properties acquired (ROPAs) in settlement of loans and receivables, which prevent banks and financial institutions from effectively performing their role of financial intermediation.
Cua said it is not hard to imagine that the increase in the NPLs and NPAs would affect the financial liquidity of the banking industry.
“It will affect its resiliency or profitability. And it could affect its very viability,” he added.
He said the proposed measure would help banks and other financial institutions offload their NPAs, induce economic activity, and improve the liquidity of the financial system to propel economic growth.
The bill seeks to encourage financial Institutions to sell NPAs to asset management companies, created as Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer Corporations (FISTC), that specializes in the resolution of distressed assets.
“The banking sector must continue to provide credit. It has to be liquid all the time to be able to meet the continuous flow of credit to the economy, the very lifeblood of economic activity,” Cua said. (PNA)