The portion of the South African Future Trust (SAFT) assigned to Standard Bank to disperse is fully subscribed, the financial institution said today.

Standard Bank was allocated R250 million from SAFT to disperse to businesses in need of relief following the lockdown brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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 R250 million,” head of business banking at Standard Bank South Africa, Simone Cooper said in a statement.

Last week FNB announced that its portion of SAFT funds for dispersal had also been fully subscribed. FNB said that it had assisted 2 300 businesses through the fund.

With the SAFT funds now fully subscribed, Standard Bank has urged South African businesses to apply for relief if they are in need.

One of these relief measures is the government’s COVID-19 Term Loan Scheme which Standard Bank says it began processing applications for last week.

Businesses with an annual turnover of less that R300 million may qualify providing they meet other criteria outlined by the fund including:

  • In good standing as of 29th February 2020 with their bank
  • Registered with the South African Revenue Services
  • Have no existing capacity to borrow
  • Negatively impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown and the resultant slowdown in the economy.

All Standard Bank’s financial relief measures for SMEs also remain in place. Standard Bank Business customers with turnover of less than R20 million per annum have been automatically offered instalment relief via a three month payment holiday and all Business customers have been offered a range of relief measures, on an opt in basis, ranging from payment holidays, instalment reduction, debt consolidation, interest rate reduction to ex gratia insurance payment for lost income.

“The need to support our SMEs and their employees in South Africa 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 and the rate of subscription to the fund highlights the plight of many South African businesses today,” Cooper concluded.