After careful consideration and engagements with regulators, Absa announced on Sunday that it is introducing a comprehensive customer, business and corporate relief programme.
This programme, effective on Monday, 30 March 2020, is in line with the principles of an industry agreed approach, it said in a statement.
"We urge those of our customers who are able to continue making their payments, to do so. This will enable us to extend these measures to many more who are not in a similar position," said Daniel Mminele, group CEO of Absa.
Eligible customers in need of short-term liquidity relief will qualify for the relief programme that applies to Absa's credit products. These relief measures apply to Absa's corporate, wealth, business bank, private bank and retail customers.
Crucially, this programme will not attract additional administration fees for customers.
Support to corporate and business banking clients will entail solutions based on their unique requirements and operations. Businesses and corporates are encouraged to contact their relationship managers for further details.
The programme incorporates a three-month payment relief and allows customers in need of short-term financial relief to reduce their monthly instalments. Customers in good standing (with up-to-date accounts), and who have been financially impacted by the pandemic will have the opportunity to opt-in for payment relief, aimed at assisting with cash flow needs.
This means the programme will give customers the opportunity to either continue paying if they are in a position to, to pay reduced instalments by agreement with the bank or to defer payments for a period of three months.
Relevant agreements will be adjusted, by revising the loan period and capitalising interest during the relief period.
The principles applicable to this relief programme in South Africa are extended to Absa's other markets in Africa but will be implemented subject to the various conditions, laws and regulations applicable in each country.
Business Insider reported earlier that Standard Bank, which has already given its business clients and students a break, has now extended debt repayment holidays to its personal account customers too during the Covid-19 disaster.
The bank said all customers earning R7 500 or less, and who are not in arrears in any of their accounts, will qualify for three months of instalment relief
That means customers can hold off on paying home loans, car loans, other asset finance, short term loans, and credit cards, Standard Bank said.
Digital bank TymeBank announced on Saturday that its SendMoney service has now been made 100% free during this difficult period. TymeBank customers can send cash to anyone with a valid South African cellphone number - they don't even need a bank account. The recipient will get an instant SMS with a voucher number with which they can immediately withdraw cash at any Pick n Pay or Boxer till point nationwide.
* Compiled by Carin Smith