R250m of Oppenheimer fund delivered to small businesses, says bank

19 May 2020 - 13:57 By TimesLIVE
Standard Bank said the R250m allocated to the bank by the SAFT fund has supported more than 3,500 small businesses and 22,000 employees with loans.
Standard Bank said the R250m allocated to the bank by the SAFT fund has supported more than 3,500 small businesses and 22,000 employees with loans.
Image: REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO

All the funds, totalling R250m, assigned to Standard Bank by the SA Future Trust (SAFT) have been allocated to the employees of qualifying SMMEs after six weeks of administering the fund.

“As one of the official six SAFT partner banks, we are proud to have played our part in this initiative. We are closing out the last few applications, which will conclude with us having supported more than 3,500 small businesses and 22,000 employees with SAFT loans to the value of approximately R250m,” said Simone Cooper, head of business banking at Standard Bank SA.

The SAFT fund, established by Nicky and Jonathan Oppenheimer, has enabled thousands of small businesses in the country to support employee wage relief.

While SAFT funding is no longer available, the bank said it is considering additional relief measures in the form of financial and non-financial support, as well collaborating with other entities and government to enable support.

So far, Standard Bank business customers with turnovers of less than R20m per annum have been automatically offered installment relief via a three-month payment holiday. Business customers have also been offered a range of relief measures, on an opt-in basis, ranging from payment holidays, installment reduction, debt consolidation and interest rate reduction to ex gratia insurance payment for lost income.

“The need to support our SMMEs and their employees is paramount to how we manage the economic impact of the national lockdown implemented because of Covid-19.

"SAFT was an example of how we can do this if various parts of the private sector pool their resources for the betterment of our citizens. The rate of subscription to the fund highlights the plight of many South African businesses today,” Cooper said.


X