As crisis takes its toll on exports: Cebu exporters urge banks for leniency

By CHRISTIAN WAKEFIELD, Reporter

EXPORTERS in Cebu, that have been badly hit by the global economic crisis, are asking banks for a moratorium on repayment of principal loans and for the rescheduling of loan payments as the export industry bleeds from the global financial crunch.

Phil-Export Cebu President Jay Yuvallos said that while exporters are having a hard time coping up with the rapid slowdown of orders from the foreign markets, bank representatives are visiting them and demanding payments for the principal of their loans.

“That is pressure. Banks are calling loans instead of being lenient, instead of giving rooms to exporters,” said Yuvallos, stressing that exporters are asking for breathing space amidst the crisis.

Exporters, different chambers of commerce in Cebu, and representatives from various government agencies met on Tuesday with Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to discuss measures in countering the effects of the global crisis.

For their part, officials of the Cebu Bankers Club said the restructuring of loan payments depend on the concerned bank and the specific client. The bankers also claimed that the banking industry is also trying to cushion the effect of the crisis, just like what the exporters are doing.

But Garcia said there must be a collective consensus among bankers to provide breathing space to exporters.

“Please consider the plights of the exporters. If this could be made a collective stand, we request that the bankers’ club ask their members to call off loan payments for now,” said Garcia.

Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce Cebu President Filomeno Lim also said exporters need help right now, as he urged banks to lend the industry an umbrella that would shield exporters from the effects of the crisis.

Garcia said exporters and bankers should pool their resources together and bend a little more while the world is under the financial crisis. Otherwise, she said exporters will be forced to lay off workers or shut down.

“You are doing business in the province. I will not allow the province’s growth to be compromised,” said Garcia, addressing the bankers present during the meeting.

The bankers and exporters will be meeting again on April 16 to discuss the issue and, hopefully, come up with a win-win solution.

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