- Standard Bank has announced a plan to help small business owners amid the coronavirus pandemic
- The bank revealed a 3-month payment holiday for those who qualify
- Other than the health of the nation, the economic ramifications of the outbreak is a major cause for concern
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Standard Bank has announced some good news for small business owners in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.
Small business owners will be awarded a 3-month payment holiday in an attempt to help them get through this tough time.
In a statement published on social media, the bank said it understood the pressure of the situation:
"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."
Companies will be eligible for the assistance offered by the Coronavirus Business Interruption Payment Scheme if they meet the following criteria:
- Business is based in South Africa
- Business has an annual turnover of less than R20 million
- Other accounts at Standard bank are up to date
- Business is in good standing
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The payment holiday will also provide some relief to students during a time where many are facing reduced sources of income:
"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."
IOL reports that the Democratic Alliance applauded the move to provide some relief and called on other banks to follow suit.
Shadow Finance Minister Geordin Hill-Lewis commented on the decision that will likely preserve many businesses in SA:
"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."
Hill-Lewis explained that, should other banks follow the example set by Standard Bank, it would give the economy an opportunity to breathe:
"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."
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