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FNB's three-month payment holiday, R100m for Covid-19 pandemic relief

30 March 2020 - 13:47 By Wendy Knowler
FNB has announced help for its clients affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the banking group has donated R100m to a pandemic intervention and relief effort.
FNB has announced help for its clients affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the banking group has donated R100m to a pandemic intervention and relief effort.

FNB on Monday announced relief for its customers whose incomes have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic - no installment payments on personal loans, home loans and car loans for April, May and June, with those amounts to be paid off over time with a “preferential” interest rate and no added fees.

“That’s about 45% of our customers, and the intervention will apply to the 80% of those whose accounts were in good standing before the outbreak,” FNB CEO Jacques Celliers told TimesLIVE.

“We’re giving them some meaningful support, a bit of breathing space for the next three months,” he said.

“It will allow them to take that debt repayment, plus the credit life insurance premium, and refinance them at prime interest rate and no fees.”

Celliers estimated it would take most affected clients three to four years to pay back the missed installments.

The bank was not trying to make money out of the intervention, Celliers said.

“It’s a help scheme. This relief is using our own resources. No-one is giving us handouts.”

FNB’s individual and business customers on FNB Connect will also receive 1GB of free data to help them stay connected during the lockdown.

“And we are working with industry partners to ensure customers can use any bank’s ATMs without paying additional fees over and above the fees charged by their bank."

The bank also announced would provide help with the processing of credit insurance claims “where possible”.

“Individuals and business customers can contact us via their usual digital and assisted banking channels to inquire about these services,” the bank said in a statement.

“At the same time, together with the Banking Association of South Africa and the banking industry, we are 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.

"The bank will, during the course of this week, make details about its Covid-19 relief measures available via a dedicated icon on the landing page of its banking app."

FirstRand Limited announced on Monday that it has donated R100-million to SPIRE (SA Pandemic Intervention and Relief Effort)  funded by FirstRand Foundations, FNB and RMB  for support for the country’s medical structures and resources.

“SPIRE’s immediate objective is to accelerate the scaling of South Africa’s Covid-19 critical care capacity over the next few weeks, and is particularly focused on supporting the medical structures and resources of the country, particularly those responsible for providing testing, front line protective care and ventilators, and addressing critical bed capacity.

“As a large financial services group, particularly given the valuable capabilities of our businesses, we can augment the current government and other national relief initiatives,” said Mary Vilakazi, FirstRand COO.

“Our platforms, client relationships and payment channels can be scaled rapidly.”