Standard Bank has announced a 90 day loan repayment holiday for South Africa small and medium-sized businesses in a bid to soften the economic impact of the coronavirus.
According to the bank's website, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Payment Scheme offers "payment relief to our small enterprise customers, as a preventative measure to shield them from the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak".
Notably, the scheme will automatically defer payments of certain small and medium-sized businesses. Businesses that do not want to have payments rescheduled can opt out.
The initiative is set to launch on April 1 and will defer payments for 90 days until June 30.
"The interest and fees accrued over this period will be capitalised on your lending account. After the 90-day period is complete the new repayment will become due," states the bank in a notice.
Not all businesses that bank with Standard Bank qualify. The bank says that to quality
- Businesses need to be South African based, with a turnover of no more than R 20 million per year;
- Customers need to have a Business Current account, Bizlaunch account or Business Lending account that is paid up to date;
- Businesses needs to be in good standing.
DA finance spokesperson Geordin Hill-Lewis, in a statement on Sunday, called on other banks to follow Standard Bank's lead.
"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," he said.