PETALING JAYA: Restructuring loans can be a daunting task, but it is achievable with planning and reliable help, says a financial expert.
Malaysia Financial Planning Council deputy president Desmond Chong said borrowers should sort out their loans with banks before the end of across-the-board loan moratorium on Sept 30.
He advised those unfamiliar with banking procedures to seek the help of Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK).
“AKPK assistance is free for individuals. It can help restructure their loans and negotiate with banks,” he said yesterday.
Chong recommended that debtors who wish to hash it out themselves to start by assessing their financial health.
“Determine if you are eligible for the extended loan moratorium, such as whether you have lost your job this year.
“Others who should seek to restructure loans are those still with a job but are not earning enough to service their loans.
“Next are those who have enough to pay their loans but do not have enough to add to their savings. Everyone should have at least six months worth of savings. We do not know when Covid-19 will go away or what may happen next,” he said.
Chong recommended that borrowers list out their loans and figure out where to prioritise.
“List out your loans by using a table with three columns. In the first column write the name and type of loan such as personal, credit card, housing or car loans.
“In the second, write down the outstanding amounts of each loan, and in the third column list out the interest rates.
“If you wish to manage the debts yourself, I recommend you pay off loans with the highest interest rates first,” he added.
Chong said those who had sourced loans from multiple banks might be better off consulting AKPK.
“The problem arises when some people have multiple loans from multiple banks. If you have lost control, go to AKPK for step-by-step help. This also goes for those who are not tech savvy.”
Chong said borrowers can also choose to seek help from different sources such as insurance agents or financial planners.
Finwealth Management Sdn Bhd director of financial planning Felix Neoh told theSun financial planners can help those with a complex list of assets and liabilities.
“If your debts are quite straightforward, such as just a housing loan and a car loan, you might find your needs better met at AKPK as they would find it easier to negotiate with banks.
“However, financial planners would find more room to manoeuvre in helping clients who have a complex situation, such as with restructuring insurance policies, refinancing properties, or Employees Provident Fund (EPF) withdrawal schemes,” he said.
First published in The Sun Daily on March 8, 2020