By Andy Sambidge
BMI Bank announces deferral of installments for three months to help customers hit by uprisings
Bahrain's BMI Bank announced on Sunday a deferral of installment payments for customers who have taken out personal and auto loans.
The retail and commercial banking institution said its decision to waive payments from June to August was in response to the impact of the recent uprisings in the kingdom.
The deferral scheme, open to both existing and new customers, is free of charge and is available on request, it said in a statement.
Jamal Al-Hazeem, CEO of BMI Bank, said: "In light of recent times we recognise the fact that some of our customers could be facing difficulties in meeting their personal financial obligations.
"Being a responsible local bank, we believe it is our responsibility to play a leading role in assisting our loyal customers who place a lot of faith in us, better manage their finances."
He added: "This free deferment of installment amounts on our Salaf personal and auto loan products for up to three months demonstrates our commitment towards our customers."
The bank also announced that customers who apply for a new Salaf personal loan or wishing to top-up their existing loans until the 31st of August will automatically enter to win back a year's installment free in addition to benefiting from a lower interest rate of 6.5% p.a.
Last week, Bahrain's labour fund Tamkeen announced a BD10m ($26.5m) fund to offer rescue packages to small and medium-sized businesses that have been worst hit by the recent political and social uprising.
Tamkeen announced the initiative in coordination with the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry following talks on how best to help struggling companies.
To qualify for help, the company must have been in business for at least one year, have less than 50 employees and an annual turnover of less than BD100,000, Tamkeen said.
Bahrain's government last week confirmed it would waive its levy on hotels in the country for three months from July.
The government's cabinet said the five percent fee levied on hotel services would be scrapped from July 1 to September 1, as part of the efforts being exerted to boost the tourism sector, which has been rocked by recent uprisings.