Standard Bank on Sunday announced a 3-month payment holiday for small business owners in South Africa amid the coronavirus pandemic. File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Sasbo wants banks to consider options other than retrenchments and begin a program to re-skill employees whose positions are at risk, he said in an interview. Job cuts in the country are particularly sensitive as the unemployment rate has risen to 29%, the highest in more than a decade.'', according to BusinessTech Picture Dylan Jacobs/African News Agency(ANA)
Standard Bank on Sunday announced a 3-month payment holiday for small business owners in South Africa amid the coronavirus pandemic. File picture: African News Agency (ANA) Sasbo wants banks to consider options other than retrenchments and begin a program to re-skill employees whose positions are at risk, he said in an interview. Job cuts in the country are particularly sensitive as the unemployment rate has risen to 29%, the highest in more than a decade.'', according to BusinessTech Picture Dylan Jacobs/African News Agency(ANA)

Standard Bank gives SA small business owners and students a 3-month payment holiday

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Mar 22, 2020

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Cape Town - Standard Bank on Sunday announced a 3-month payment holiday for small business owners and students in South Africa amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"We understand the pressures of being a small business owner. So we would like to lighten the load by giving our customers with a turnover of less than 20M a 3- month payment holiday, effective 1 April 2020. Visit https://bit.ly/2wvUwXY for more information," the bank said on Sunday.

According to Standard Bank's website you are eligible for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Payment Scheme if:

  • Your business is South African based, with a turnover of no more than R 20 million per year.
  • Your Business Current account, Bizlaunch account and Business Lending accounts are paid up to date.
  • Your business is in good standing.

Standard Bank said it would set up automatic new payment terms for these small business owners. 

"This measure will not only assist our small business clients with managing their cash flows, but also allow them to honour payments to their own employee base," the bank said.

Standard Bank South Africa Chief Executive Lungisa Fuzile explains: “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.”

The bank has also approved a payment holiday for students.

"For our students we have also approved a payment holiday from 1 April to 30 June for our student loan customers who are studying full time. This will be at 0% interest and with zero fees. This is an automatic offer and no applications are required," the bank said.

All other customers are requested to contact the bank to indicate their circumstances. Assistance from Standard Bank will also include options to defer payment for an agreed period and the opportunity to restructure and consolidate the overall debt, the bank said.

The DA commended the bank's announcement and called on other banks to match the "relief intervention".

"The announcement by Standard Bank of a 3-month payment holiday on all up-to-date business loans is very welcome. The DA calls on all other banks to match this relief intervention as soon as possible," said Geordin Hill-Lewis, the  DA's Shadow Minister of Finance.

"The DA has called for a loan forbearance programme since the national disaster was declared, and we are pleased that this request has been heeded. We now need to see this rolled out by all other banks and loan-making institutions.

"This business loan forbearance, if it is matched by all banks, will give much needed relief to struggling businesses and families. It will give our economy the breathing room it needs to survive the next few months," Hill-Lewis said.

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