The financial impact of government’s efforts to protect South Africa from the virus is increasingly being felt by all as lockdown approaches the one month mark.
The array of debt and payment relief offerings announced by local banks are well documented, aimed at helping them deal with the personal and household budget challenges.
And the need for assistance is vast, and growing, said Nedbank, who said in a statement on Monday (20 April) that 130,000 clients had already approached the bank for financial assistance and relief by 14 April – just over two weeks into lockdown.
Of this number, relief has been provided to just under 65,000, with no rejected requests yet recorded, it said.
The remainders are ‘Work in Progress’ or have been provided other relief measures due to not qualifying under Covid-19 relief, the lender said.
Instead of adopting a blanket relief offering, Nedbank said it took a slightly different stance and invited its clients to approach it if they needed assistance, so as to customise its relief measures.
Managing executive of Nedbank Retail and Business Banking, Ciko Thomas said that the bank’s debt relief options are not restricted to certain products which could include entering payment arrangement options that are tailored to suit the client’s household cash flow at this time.
“The requests we have received for payment holidays and premium deferments have been across our product range, including home loans, vehicle and asset finance, personal loans, and credit cards,” he said.
“And we have had almost 3,000 engagements with our business banking clients, many of who have also requested help ranging from payment holidays to extensions on their overdrafts and other credit facilities.”
Thomas said that Nedbank has assessed each of these client requests on a case-by-case basis, resulting in over 4,500 home loans and 21,500 vehicle finance agreements being restructured to deliver repayment relief.
As at 14 April, the bank has also granted over 33,400 personal loans and 2,300 credit card payment holidays and extended temporary overdraft or overdraft extensions worth R3.4 billion, to over 2,000 of its business banking clients.
“Given that our call centres have had to be decentralised due to lockdown, we have faced obvious logistical challenges and call waiting times for some customers have been longer than we would have liked,” said Thomas, “however, we remain 100% committed to assisting our clients on a case-by-case basis”.