Other banks should match Standard Bank's business debt repayment holiday: DA

The DA has urged other banks to follow Standard Bank's decision to grant their small and medium business customers a debt repayment holiday to cope with challenges caused by Covid-19.
The DA has urged other banks to follow Standard Bank's decision to grant their small and medium business customers a debt repayment holiday to cope with challenges caused by Covid-19.
Image: 123RF/lightwise

The DA has called on all other banks to follow Standard Bank's example of granting small and medium business customers a three-month debt repayment holiday.  

“The announcement by Standard Bank of a three-month payment holiday on all up-to-date business loans is very welcome. The DA calls on all other banks to match this relief intervention as soon as possible,” DA shadow minister of finance Geordin Hill-Lewis said.

He said the DA had called for a loan forbearance programme since the declaration of a national state of disaster. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a raft of measures last Sunday designed to curb the spread of  Covid-19, including a prohibition on gatherings of more than 100 people.

These measures have seen a decline in activities of small and medium businesses.

“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,” Hill-Lewis said

However, Hill-Lewis said it was concerning that government had not co-ordinated a nationwide loan forbearance programme proactively, and had instead left it up to individual banks to make these announcements.

“This does not inspire confidence that the government has a firm grip on the economic disaster we face, or that they have any plan to help get our economy through this crisis.”

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