There is a palpable air of stress throughout South Africa as businesses close their doors due to lockdown.

As a result South Africans are unsure of the future and worried about making payments which are due, especially if the future of their employment is now in question.

During his address to the nation last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that banks would “develop common approaches to debt relief and other necessary measures”. In order to do this, banks have been exempted from provisions of the Competition Act.

This morning, FNB announced measures it would put in place to assist individual and business customers.

“As we escalate our efforts to help customers, we are pleased to announce that from 1 April – 30 June 2020 we will implement measures to provide relief to individual and business customers whose financial stability has been impacted by COVID-19. 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,” said FNB in a statement.

Should customers qualify they can expect the following interventions from FNB.

  • Instalment cashflow relief, during which part or no instalments/repayments will be due for a specific period;
  • A preferential interest rate will apply to the COVID19 relief interventions given;
  • No fees will be charged for any relief granted;
  • Assistance with processing credit insurance claims, where possible;
  • Individualised bridge facilities for those who need it.

Customers will need to contact FNB themselves as the bank will not be granting this relief automatically. The bank is contactable through its digital and assisted banking channels.

These interventions will be available from 1st April through until 30th June according to FNB’s chief executive officer, Jacques Celliers.

Importantly, interest and fees on outstanding balances will continue to accumulate so customers should get in touch with FNB.

For businesses, FNB says it will waive Speedpoint device rentals and the minimum fee for some merchants in good standing with the bank.

FNB Connect customers will receive 1GB of free data in April.

All of these offers will be accessible via a icon which will be added to the FNB app. As of time of writing that icon is not present but keep an eye out for it in the coming days.

For customers who do not qualify for the above measures, there is good news.

These interventions are phase one of FNB’s measures, according to Celliers.

“As phase two we are working with hard with the Banking Association of South and the rest of the industry to assess potential financial solutions for those customers who do not qualify for these phase one offers. We encourage all customers though, to continue honouring their financial obligations and continue servicing their repayments,” said the CEO.

As for FNB suppliers, early invoice settlements have been prioritised throughout the FirstRand Group. As much as 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. FNB has also made a significant contribution to FirstRand’s SPIRE initiative announced today contributing, alongside the FirstRand Foundations and RMB, to the group’s total anchor funding of R100m. Through SPIRE, FNB is also providing critical operational capacity (including its payments and governance platforms) to help the healthcare system scale its response to COVID19, with a particular focus on testing equipment, protective clothing and ventilators for hospitals,” FNB said.

For more information, be sure to check your FNB app or the FNB website in the coming days and weeks to see if the bank can assist you with financial relief.