Standard Bank's Arno Daehnke explains move to support customers during Covid-19

The Group FD says there is a tremendous amount of work taking place to support clients during the outbreak.

Standard Bank group FD Arno Daehnke says that the bank is doing a lot of work on supporting its clients during the Covid-19 outbreak. The bank announced on 22 March that it will be providing financial relief measures for its small enterprise and student customers in South Africa from 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020. 

The bank said in a statement that these actions have been proactively deployed to provide some relief to its customer base in anticipation of the economic and cash flow constraints that are expected to arise due to the Covid-19 outbreak. 

They are as follows: 

  • All Standard Bank small enterprise customers with turnover of less than R20 million, who have a business loan with the bank and are in good standing with the bank at 31 March 2020, will automatically receive a payment holiday from 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020. Interest and fees will still accrue over the three month period and will be capitalised to the loan. The terms of repayment will be automatically extended to maintain the affordability of the facility once the payment holiday period expires. 
  • All Standard Bank student customers still studying full time, who have a Standard Bank Student Loan and are in good standing with the bank at 31 March 2020, will automatically receive a payment holiday from 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020. Interest will be charged at 0 percent and fees will be zero for the three month period. The terms of repayment will be automatically extended to maintain the affordability of the facility once the payment holiday period expires. 

Arno added: 

“We are doing a lot of work on ensuring business continuity, making sure the branches continue to operate with people working from home and applying social distancing in the banks where people are working to make sure that our systems are resilient in this time.” 

The bank is also doing a lot of work around balance sheet management, liquidity and regulatory requirements. “As a bank, we have a huge amount of regulations we need to keep track of on a daily, if not hourly, basis,” Arno said. “There is a tremendous amount of work going on during these uncertain and dynamic times”

According to the statement, while the Covid-19 pandemic continues to unfold, it is difficult to estimate the likely negative impact that it will have on the bank’s financial performance. However, the group remains well capitalised and liquid.