Nedbank, FNB join Standard in offering to help the financially distressed

By Philippa Larkin Time of article published Mar 24, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - Nedbank and FNB yesterday joined Standard Bank in offering measures to alleviate the woes of financially distressed clients as Covid-19 cases continue to mount across South Africa, causing financial disruption.

Nedbank said that it would support its clients with suitable individual solutions to cash flow challenges they might experience as a result of Covid-19, which extended to any loan agreement they had with the bank.

It said the support could include deferring payments, or part thereof, for a suitable period, extending existing loan periods or extending additional credit to manage short-term cash flow shortfalls.

“Clients are encouraged to contact us on 0860555111 or small business clients can speak to their dedicated relationship banker if they need to restructure their debt or change their payment arrangements as a consequence of Covid-19, the lender said.

Nedbank has a number of solutions available to assist clients in good standing who are impacted by the coronavirus. Photo: File

Yesterday, FNB, which is owned by FirstRand, reaffirmed its commitment to help small and medium enterprises' (SMEs) individual customers whose financial position was adversely impacted by Covid-19.

The lender said it could assist the SMEs to stabilise cash flow and consumers who wanted to cover unexpected expenses.

“We will make further announcements on the nature of this support in the days ahead,” it said.

FNB said SMEs and an economically viable consumer market were vital to the country's economic growth prospects.

On Sunday, Standard Bank announced interim debt repayment measures to help segments of its customers.

The SA Reserve Bank has yet to impose a moratorium on debt repayments by those suffering loss of income due the epidemic.

Standard Bank said the payment relief for the bank’s small enterprise customers with turnover of less than R20million would commence on April 1 and run to the end of June.

It said it would set up automatic new payment terms for these small businesses to assist them with managing their cash flows, while allowing them to honour payments to their own employee base.

Lungisa Fuzile, the chief executive of Standard Bank, said: “The relief will come from capitalising the interest and fees typically paid to the bank each month and changing the terms of repayment to a later date.

“This, we hope, will relieve cash flow constraints currently caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.”

In addition, it said all its student customers still studying full time with a Standard Bank Student Loan would receive a payment holiday over the same period at 0percent interest and with zero fees.

“The payment holiday for small enterprise and student customers is an automatic offer that requires no action from customers, except if they want to opt out,” it said.

Standard Bank said all other customers were requested to contact the bank to indicate their circumstances.

Assistance from Standard Bank would also include options to defer payment for an agreed period and the opportunity to restructure and consolidate the overall debt.

Absa said it would continued to evaluate the impact of Covid-19, including its economic impact, on an ongoing basis.

“While it is too soon to speculate about the impact on defaults, we are looking at various possible scenarios and related actions that may become necessary should customers find themselves in financial difficulty.

"We would like to heighten our call to our customers to approach us directly in the event of any form of uncertainty, including financial distress, during these unprecedented times,” Absa said.


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