Absa Bank of Seychelles announces loan payment relief for business, individuals due to COVID-19
The initiative is open to all retail customers wishing to take the payment holiday and no assessment will be done. (Seychelles Nation)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Absa Bank Seychelles has announced two relief initiatives for its business and individual customers facing difficulties making monthly loan payments during the economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bank's managing director, Johan Van Schalkwyk, told a press conference on Wednesday that the relief initiatives will span six months for businesses in the hospitality and tourism sectors. The initiative for retail customers holding personal and prestige accounts will span three months.
Van Schalkwyk said the relief targets the tourism sector which will be the most affected during the pandemic as the country has closed its border to travellers hence affecting the businesses' cash flow.
He said the payment relief which is in addition to previously announced national measures to alleviate the financial pressures of its customers will be funded entirely by the bank.
"It is ABSA's contribution towards assisting our own customers funded by our own shareholders and the primary shareholder is the Absa group in South Africa," said Van Schalkwyk.
|Van Schalkwyk told a press conference on Wednesday that the relief initiatives will span six months for businesses in the hospitality and tourism sectors. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY
Absa Bank Seychelles said that during the payment holiday, customers with loans only, including business, mortgages, vehicular and personal loans, will not have to make payments. However, this relief initiative does not apply to credit card and overdrafts.
The chief risk officer, Sarah Lang, said the initiative is open to all retail customers wishing to take the payment holiday and no assessment will be done.
However, businesses wishing to take the payment holiday will be asked to provide some information to the bank.
Absa said that after the payment holiday the bank will work on a repayment plan that is practical for the clients either to extend the number of years for the repayment or increase the amount being paid presently.
"At the end of the three months or the six months, the total amount that you owe the bank will include the interest that should have been paid during those months but was not. That will be added to the total amount that you owe the bank," said Lang.
Since it is uncertain when the pandemic will end, Van Schalkwyk said the positions taken by the bank may be reviewed at the end of the payment holiday.
Customers will be contacted in the coming days and offered the relief initiatives.
Since the beginning of the month, Absa Bank has reduced its prime lending rate on all loans by one percent and is offering toll-free access to its local inter-bank transfers on its digital channels.
The bank has also said it does not plan to take on new customers and will be working only with its existing customers until the economic situation improves.