Seychelles Bankers Association offering assistance with loan payments during COVID-19
Jackson explained that these clients will be given a maximum of three years to pay off the loan. (Joena Meme)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles Bankers Association is assisting clients facing financial difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic with two types of support.
The support includes a moratorium on payments and a private-sector relief scheme, an association official, Bernard Jackson, told a news conference on Thursday.
Jackson said a total of 1,145 requests for support have been received by the banks, 800 of which have already been approved. One request has been declined whereas the remaining 344 are still being looked into as some documents still need to be submitted by the clients.
The moratoriums being offered to clients include no interest or capital repayments for a period of six months for businesses or three months for individuals.
"At the end of the respective period we will need to take what the client has not paid and had the client pay it in an increased period of time at the same amount as before the moratorium or increase the amount being paid over the same amount of time," he said.
Jackson said the association has worked closely with the Central Bank of Seychelles to put in place a loan "with really low-interest rates."
"Those who qualify for this assistance will get a six-month moratorium where they won't be paying anything. These people need to meet some financial commitments such as rentals, communication and maintenance fees as they need to continue paying some essential services," said Jackson.
He explained that these clients will be given a maximum of three years to pay off the loan. The banks are taking into account that there are people who will be able to pay in a shorter period and those are welcomed.
The association mentioned that micro, small, and medium enterprises with an annual turnover of less than SCR 25 million ($1.5 million) and self-employed individuals account for most of the requests being made.
To be eligible for the support, the business and personal credit facilities must have been in good order before February 2020.
"We will need to know that you are someone serious and this is a temporary situation. When the situation goes back to normal, they will start to pay normally. People who weren't serious before the crisis do not merit consideration as once the situation goes back to normal, they will be in difficulty again, and we will need to start legal procedures which wastes the banks' time," he said.
"Secondly, when we look at the crisis, there is a lot of burden-sharing that needs to take place. The government has put in place economic measures, and the central bank has come with its provisions. We need to take into account if a person has already received assistance from the government before we assist them," said Jackson.
Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, has nine commercial banks.