Financial institution Standard Bank on March 27 said it “strongly supports” the measures to preserve people’s health and lives, adding that the strong public health measures adopted by governments against the spread of Covid-19 were “urgently necessary”.
In his weekly newsletter, Standard Bank CE Sim Tshabalala implored everyone, as a collective and as individuals, “to do everything in our power” to slow the spread of the virus, to create time for health systems to respond effectively and to keep the social and economic damage caused by the pandemic “to a minimum”.
He lamented that “pandemics create huge economic costs”, and that the South African economy was seeing reduced business and consumer confidence, reduced revenues for many types of business, as well as “sudden and immense” pressure on the prices of many assets.
Considered to be Africa’s largest financial services group by assets, Standard Bank noted that “it is aware” that it “works at the centre of the economy” and that it is therefore its duty to do everything possible to help clients keep businesses and lives on track.
It is for this reason that Standard Bank said its teams were ready to serve individual, business and corporate clients as usual, while doing everything possible to keep staff and clients safe, and to “flatten the curve”.
The group had also taken all the necessary steps to ensure its essential services were able to function at this time when South Africa is in a national lockdown and as many other African countries implement measures to halt the spread of the disease.
Tshabalala, on behalf of Standard Bank, further requested that, should clients feel concerned that they were facing, or would soon face, financial distress, they should contact the bank as soon as possible.
“We will do everything in our power to assist.”
However, since clients are borrowers and depositors, savers and investors, people paying insurance premiums and people needing to claim, the normal credit, underwriting and general risk disciplines will continue to apply.
“We cannot predict exactly what will happen in the difficult weeks that undoubtedly lie ahead. Please be sure of this: we’re rock-solid, we’re open for business, and we want to assist,” he averred.