For 4 months, the world has been grappling with the novel coronavirus. This is a time for humanity to stand shoulder to shoulder as it tries to come up with innovative ways of dealing with this pandemic.
First National Bank (FNB) has not been left out of this fight. The bank has come up with strategies that can assist both its employers and customers to stay afloat during these trying times.
CEO of FNB Life, Lee Bromfield says the bank is firmly committed to supporting its customers during this difficult time.
“It is important for customers to know what they are covered for to be able to make informed financial decisions, especially in light of COVID-19. We will be issuing direct communication to customers who have credit life insurance with the bank on their credit products,” said Bromfield
The Bank’s interventions will be executed in phases. With the first assisting those clients who demonstrate sound banking behavior. Such as having honored their repayments to the bank on a consistent basis prior to COVID-19.
For qualifying customers, FNB’s COVID-19 interventions are available for a period of three months, and will cover the following:
1.) A payment holiday for clients in good standing with Business Loans (such as Business Loan, Business Revolving Loan or a Business Booster Loan) – with a turnover up to R20million p.a. – during which no instalments will be due for 3 months
2.) Assistance with processing credit insurance claims, where possible
3.) Individualised bridge facilities for those who need it
4.) Speedpoint device rental fees and minimum merchant fees will be waived. That is, however, for merchants who are in good standing but operating in distressed industries
Lee Bromfield says the Credit Life has been there for a long time. The bank went live with the cover on loss of income on its product in 2017.
Since then it has always been one of the bank’s primary considerations for customers who are in financial difficulty.
According to the press release by the bank, If a customer is permanently employed and they become unemployed or unable to earn an income due to contracting COVID 19.
Or due to measures put in place to prevent the spread of the virus. All their obligations under the Credit Agreement that become due or can be payable and can be paid either for 12 months during the remaining period of the Credit Agreement. Or until they are able to find employment or earn an income whichever is the shorter period.
Bromfield adds; “It is important for customers to know what they are covered for to be able to make informed financial decisions, especially in light of COVID-19. We will be issuing direct communication to customers who have credit life insurance with the bank on their credit products.”
The solution is designed to be less expensive compared to the traditional payment break with a term extension. Where a customer could potentially be paying ‘interest upon interest’.
Fees are still levied during the break. Their repayments on the longer term will be based on the conditions of the existing agreement. For example, interest rate and fees.
In the long-term, the total cost of credit for a payment holiday with a term extension is significantly higher than a cash flow relief plan.
FNB encourages its customers whose income has been affected by the virus to apply for relief on its banking App through the COVID-19 icon.
In late March, FNB offered a payment holiday relief for clients whose income has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The relief will give a 3 month waiver on the payment of installments on home loans, car loans and personal loans. The months covered for the exemption of paying these loans are April, May and June.
The pending installments can then be paid with a preferential interest after the COVID 19 pandemic is over.
The bank is, however, urging those that are in good financial standing and not affected by the COVID 19 pandemic to continue paying their loans. This will enable those that are hardest hit by the pandemic to access the three-month payment holiday relief.
As part of its measures to help its customers during this difficult period, FNB Connect slashed its data prices for the month of April by a whooping 55%.
In addition, FNBConnect doubled its customer’s data on their lifestyle plan without any price increase.
FNB Connect has also been giving away 1GB data to assist its customers to have access to the latest news on COVID 19. And most importantly be able to transact online during the national lockdown.
Shadrack Palmer product head at FNB Connect said: “In our efforts to provide our customers with more value for their money, we’ve reduced our mobile data prices and doubled the data bundles on most of our Lifestyle plans, to give our customers more reason to connect anywhere and anytime. This is needed now more than ever. As South Africans are observing the 21-day national lockdown, with many strapped for cash during these challenging times.”
In an endeavor to complement government efforts in fighting COVID 19. FNB opened a dedicated bank account to facilitate donations for customers, staff, business partners and members of the public who would like to donate into the Solidarity Fund.
All proceeds that will be collected through the Bank’s account will be handed over to the Government Solidarity Fund.
The proceeds will allow national communication, procurement of health supplies. And support for vulnerable families as well as Small to Medium Enterprise impacted by the novel coronavirus.
The dedicated FNB bank account is part of the Bank’s several interventions to help the country through this difficult period.
Stakeholders who would like to make donations via the FNB bank account can use the following details:
FNB Account name: Solidarity Fund
Account number: 62848117447
Reference Number: ID number or company registration number
Donations through the FNB account can be made via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). Unfortunately, no cash donations are permitted. Furthermore, donations will qualify for a Section 18A certificate for tax purposes. Those who wish to request a certificate can email: email@example.com with their full names or company name and address details.