Absa has announced relief measures for individual and business customers impacted by the July riots and civil unrest in South Africa.
In a statement on Monday (2 August), the bank said it has been assessing the full scale of the impact on both retail and business bank customers while working to restore branch and ATM operations that were impacted.
The bank said it has introduced the following measures to assist customers:
- Reintroduction of payment relief: With immediate effect, Absa is reintroducing the Siyasizana programme to provide a bespoke payment relief solution to assist retail customers (individuals) with existing credit facilities that have been impacted by the unrest.
- Tailored credit/relief solutions for business bank customers: Absa will offer dedicated, bespoke credit solutions for businesses (including SMEs), as they rebuild and restore operations. Solutions will be based on the unique circumstances and needs of each business.
- Reduction of Saswitch fees for two months: As part of an industry initiative, Absa will subsidise the fees charged when a customer uses a Saswitch ATM from 1 August 2021. Customers can use any ATM in South Africa and pay the usual fee charged by their own bank.
- Absa-supported ATMs are more affordable: In addition, cash withdrawal fees have also been reduced at Absa-supported ATMs (machines not owned by Absa). For the retail customers that make use of our transactional accounts, they can withdraw cash at Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals free of charge.
- Bank-on-wheels: Absa has deployed mobile ATMs to the affected communities in parts of KZN to provide banking services and to alleviate pressure particularly for the pending SASSA payment period.
- Assistance with POS terminals: Absa will waive point-of-sale monthly terminal rental fees for businesses that have been impacted by the recent unrest and will assist with a replacement if required.
- To ensure that standalone life insurance cover remains unaffected, Absa will offer an additional two months premium payment relief. In addition, all valid claims, including hospitalisation, disability or death, as a result of the recent unrest, will be paid.
- Absa Insurance Company is assisting insurance customers with fast-tracking claims assessment, processing and fulfilment as per the SASRIA mandate (the state-owned insurer), for losses arising out of the unrest.
“Like many businesses in parts of the country, Absa was deeply impacted by this crisis,” said Bongiwe Gangeni, deputy chief executive, Absa Retail and Business Bank.
“In addition to the damage and loss experienced by many of our customers, approximately 21 branches, and more than 200 of our ATMs were damaged or vandalised – we have a first-hand appreciation of the disruption the recent looting has caused.
“This has strengthened our resolve to serving our loyal customers and ensuring that they have uninterrupted access to banking services,” said Gangeni.