As one of the banks tasked with dispersing the South African Future Trust (SAFT) Fund, FNB has reported a massive amount of applications from businesses.

To date 2 300 businesses have received assistance through the fund, meaning that as many as 17 367 employees will receive income for the next three months.

“As one of the banks that were entrusted with the humbling responsibility to provide support in disbursing the SAFT funds, we are grateful to have been able to facilitate assistance to more than 2300 businesses, equating to more than 17 000 employees, to withstand the current economic pressures and retain as many jobs as possible,” head of FNB’s SME customer segment, Jesse Weinberg said in a statement.

The bank reports that it received 12 000 applications from businesses financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Over and above applications for relief from the SAFT Fund, FNB has received 40 000 assessments for both financial and non-financial support from business clients.

“The large volumes of applications and requests we continue to receive from businesses across the country are testament to the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses and society as a whole,” said Weinberg.

Unfortunately, due to the influx of SAFT Fund applications, the portion provided to FNB to disperse has been fully subscribed.

“As with all relief funds, they are limited and unfortunately, we have many clients that did not obtain funds from this scheme. We are proactively and reactively engaging with those clients to see how we can assist in another way or form. We are also working around the clock to process a backlog of payments to some employees of the businesses banked with us, and we appeal to our clients to kindly bear with us as we resolve these delays with utmost urgency,” said Weinberg.

FNB has said that businesses in need of relief should contact the bank. FNB offers lending, payment breaks and other relief measures via its digital channels including the FNB app.