Citi waives fees, offers payment holiday for clients in quake-hit areas

Citi country officer Batara Sianturi means BUSINESS

MANILA - Good news for Citi cardholders in quake-hit areas, as the Philippine unit of the multinational bank is waiving fees and offering a payment holiday. 

In a statement, Citi Philippines chief executive Batara Sianturi said the move is intended to ensure continued access to credit for customers in quake-hit areas.

"This is not the first time that Citi extended payment relief to provide assistance to our customers.  Through this program, we hope to give our clients time to settle their card bill or loan account and enjoy continued access to credit, which should be very useful to them in their current situation," Sianturi said.

Citi has branches in the cities of Cebu and Davao.

Under the program, Citi clients may ask for a relief of at least 30 days to settle their outstanding balances.  To avail of the payment relief, concerned clients are advised to call the 24-hour CitiPhone at 995-9999.

Qualified cardholders and personal loan customers will be entitled to an extra 30 days to settle their outstanding balance from their most recent payment due date. Late payment charges will be waived, and interest charges may be waived on a case-to-case basis. 

Citi said it is monitoring closely the situation through its officers and employees from Cebu and Davao.

With aftershocks felt the day after the earthquake, Citi suspended branch operations in Cebu City and encouraged clients to transact through its online, phone and mobile banking channels. 

“For the safety of our clients and employees, we sought the approval of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and they were very supportive of our plans,” Sianturi said.

This is the third time for Citi to declare a payment holiday in the Philippines. The first time was during Typhoon Ondoy, when Metro Manila was also brought to a standstill, with many areas inundated by flood and homes destroyed. At that time, Citi’s payment holiday was extended to targeted areas hardest hit by Typhoon Ondoy.

The second time was last year following the extensive flooding brought about by the southwest monsoon.

The 7.2-magnitude earthquake that shook Bohol was also felt in nearby areas with various intensities recorded in Cebu, Negros Occidental, Guimaras Island, Bacolod City, and Leyte, stretching to Davao City, Zamboanga Peninsula, Antique and Surigao del Sur.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported an estimated 3.2 million people affected by the earthquake.