Standard Bank offers lowest earners repayment relief


This is the second announcement from the bank regarding relief for its customers suffering as result of the impact of the coronavirus and the subsequent countrywide lockdown.

A week ago, the bank revealed a similar three-month repayment relief plan for small businesses and full-time students.

That offer was for a stay on debt repayments for full-time students with student loans at the bank and small businesses with a maximum annual turnover of R20 million who have loans with the bank.

Funeka Montjane, CEO of personal and business banking at Standard Bank, says the three-month instalment relief for individuals on car finance, home loan, credit card and short-term loans will be available from April 1 2020 until the end of June this year.

Earlier this week, Mike Sikani, spokesperson for the South African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers Unions in a statement on the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) website called for debt relief plans to be accompanied by zero interest charges during the relief period.

However, it appears that Standard Bank is not offering to suspend interest – it states that interest and bank charges will be capitalised over the term of your loan agreement. This may mean that you may face an increased repayment when the three-month relief period expires, but Standard Bank has yet to clarify.

Delaying the repayment of your loan, will, however, ultimately mean you pay more in interest, so you should only use this measure if you are financially challenged because your income has been reduce or dried up as a result of the coronavirus and the countrywide lockdown.  

“Qualifying customers do not have to contact the bank to initiate the offer, which will be automatically applied. However, if you are able to and would rather pay your accounts as usual, you are encouraged to do so,” Montjane says.

Standard Bank’s offers only apply to customers who are up-to-date with their loans. Montjane says if you are in financial distress and are not included in the three-month instalment relief offer, you should contact the bank as soon as possible by email on  debtcarecentre@standardbank.co.za or call the bank directly to make an individual repayment arrangement.

In addition to the above measures, the banking sector has taken a collective decision to waive all Saswitch fees during the lockdown period, with immediate effect.

This means you can withdraw money from any ATM, regardless of which bank you use, and you will not pay punitive charges for using a competitor bank’s ATM.