Maltese banks should offer a nine-month moratorium on home loans with a full deferment of payment, including interest, entrepreneur Jonathan Shaw has proposed.
In an open letter, Shaw, who is COO of the SiGMA summit for iGaming companies, said that this move will help thousands of families get through the current COVID-19 coronavirus crisis.
“Over the years you have been instrumental in supporting local companies and individuals to grow their business and purchase their homes,” he said.
“This growth and security has also resulted in profits for your organisations, with a combined profit before tax of around €165M between the five banks for 2019. There is nothing wrong with profit as in doing so you generate employment, investment, wealth, CSR initiatives and more.”
“Yet, in such challenging times you have a real opportunity to put your money where your mouth is. Your advertising campaigns have over the years included words like trust, support, home, family, stability, peace of mind, future and many more similar captions that are in dire need at the moment.”
“The Covid-19 pandemic is creating financial distress and high levels of uncertainty to all. This is just the beginning and whilst humanity has in the past overcome difficult times the question is not whether we will but when.”
BOV and Lombard have both set up funds to help customers deal with cashflow requirements, but Shaw warned that this is not enough.
“In times of negative interest rates you are actually still profiting from this and it really sends the wrong message,” he said. “In such financial distress the last thing a customer wants is to increase his debt and loans. This is a matter of survival.”
“Yet there is one solution which can really help a wide spectrum of society.”
“Offer a 9-month moratorium on home loans with full deferment of payment including interest and you will be really supporting thousands of home owners and their families.”
“This special and temporary relief will also help employers as employees might then be able to reduce their wage to accommodate a reduced work week to protect their job and support the companies they work for. Employers also have home loans and this will also reduce their temporary personal outflow and maybe help to retain that extra employee or two.”
“Yes, it will affect your bottom line for 2020 but the reality is that we are all in this together. Hopefully Malta can really bank on you this time.”
What do you make of this proposal?