by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – FIRST National Bank (FNB) will from April 1 to June 30 implement measures to provide relief to individual and business customers whose financial stability has been impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Jacques Celliers, FNB Chief Executive Officer, confirmed the measures on Monday.
“Our interventions will assist customers who demonstrate sound banking behavior, such as having honoured their repayments to the bank on a consistent basis prior to COVID-19,” the executive said.
For those customers that qualify, FNB’s COVID-19 interventions would be for all products with the bank.
They will be available for a period of three months, covering installment cash-flow relief, during which part or no installments/repayments will be due for a specific period.
There is also a preferential interest rate that will apply to the COVID-19 relief interventions.
No fees will be charged for any relief granted. Assistance with processing credit insurance claims, where possible and individualised bridge facilities for those who need it.
Interest and fees will continue to accumulate on outstanding balances.
At the same time together with the Banking Association of South Africa (BASA) and the banking industry, FNB is assessing potential financial solutions for those customers who do not qualify under the current criteria.
“We encourage all customers who can honour their financial obligations to continue servicing their repayments,” Celliers said.
In addition to FNB efforts to help with financial relief, the bank has prioritised early invoice settlements for suppliers across the FirstRand Group and over R1 billion has been processed in the last few days.
“We are committed to continue expediting payments to local suppliers to help improve their financial stability,” Celliers said.
FNB has also made a significant contribution to FirstRand’s SPIRE initiative announced on Monday contributing, alongside the FirstRand Foundations and RMB, to the group’s total anchor funding of R100 million.
The interventions follow the recent order of a 21-day national lockdown to tackle COVID-19 by the government.
As part of this decision, government assured the country that essential banking services would remain available.
“As a financial services provider and corporate citizen with over 40 000 staff, thousands of suppliers and millions of customers, this is a responsibility we do not take for granted,” Celliers said.
– CAJ News