Standard Bank South Africa revealed on Tuesday that it had granted relief to nearly 150 000 clients in need of financial support in the wake of the national lockdown amounting to more than R1 billion in instalment relief per month on the R44bn of total loans affected.
The lender said in a statement that this was a reinforcement of what Standard Bank had already committed to assisting small, micro- and medium-sized enterprises.
Standard Bank said as one of the largest business lenders in South Africa it welcomed the announcement of the Covid-19 Term Loan Scheme for SMMEs by President Cyril Ramaphosa. “The R200bn scheme brings much needed and welcome relief to businesses that have been adversely affected by the Covid-19.”
Funeka Montjane, country executive of Personal and Business Banking South Africa said the bank would continue to support our business banking clients.
“We fully support initiatives from the government to help stimulate economic activity and to protect businesses and jobs. It will take a collaborative effort between government, business and society at large to navigate the impact of Covid-19 and place South Africa on a path to economic recovery,”said Montjane.
The lender said it was in consultation with the government on the implementation of the scheme and would be ready to receive applications as soon as all industry parties had concluded engagements and signing arrangements. “The application form will be made available on our Covid-19 website.”
How the COVID-19 Term Loan scheme will work
Business customers with an annual turnover of less than R300m will be able to apply for a Covid-19 Term Loan.
A business must also be:
- In good standing as at 29 February 2020 with their Bank
- Registered with the South African Revenue Services
- Have no existing capacity to borrow
- Negatively impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown and the resultant slowdown in the economy
- Funds borrowed through the scheme can be used for business operational expenses such as salaries, rent, lease agreements, and contracts with suppliers. Loans will cover up to three months of operational costs.
Standard Bank SMME support
The lender said in addition to the above scheme, and in response to Covid-19, Standard Bank business clients with turnover of less than R20 million per annum had been automatically offered instalment relief via a three-month payment holiday and all business clients had been offered a range of relief measures, on an opt-in basis, ranging from payment holidays, instalment reduction, debt consolidation, interest rate reduction to ex gratia insurance payment for lost income.
Montjane said Standard Bank had also taken an active role in administering the South African Future Trust, which provides relief in the form of a five-year interest free loan for SMMEs, for the purpose of supporting permanent employees of the business. “Thus far, more than 9 000 employees of Standard Bank small business customers are being supported with wage-relief through this scheme.
“As a responsible corporate citizen the relief measures are part of our ongoing commitment to our clients as we aim to ease their financial burden in these trying times. Their financial wellbeing remains our main priority.
“We continue to engage with industry and regulatory stakeholders to find ways to assist individuals and businesses facing financial challenges and support the government and the country,” she said.
Montjane urged customers to contact their relationship bankers or visit Standard Bank’s Covid-19 website should they wish to find out more information.