Standard Bank has implemented one of the most unique approaches in dealing with COVID-19. While the bank has offered basically what most banks are offering, Standard Bank has gone a notch higher.
The bank recently launched a free digital learning course, to equip South Africans with the skills to effectively and responsibly find, evaluate, and share online content.
Additionally, the bank launched a number of relief measures meant to help its customers deal with financial repercussions emanating from Coronavirus mitigatory measures.
Standard Bank SA Chief Executive, Lungisa Fuzile notes that at Standard Bank, they are conscious of the vital role that they must play to ‘flatten the curve’ of this infectious disease.
Most crucially, Fuzile highlights the dire need to assist those who are vulnerable and most in need.
“We are committed to social solidarity and to supporting the various public health initiatives and economic impact mitigation programmes that make a meaningful difference in the lives of the most vulnerable in our society,” said Fuzile.
True to his word, the bank launched the following benefits for both its clients and non-clients.
Free Digital Literacy Course
According to United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), there are nearly 1.4 billion students globally who can’t attend school and university as a result of COVID-19.
Millions of people around the world are also unable to work as a result of quarantine and lockdowns.
In light of the above, Standard Bank in partnership with Pioneering Solutions Studio offers a free online Microsoft Digital Literacy Course.
This online course is open to all South Africans during and post disruption of learning by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The course focusses on;
- Basic knowledge on how to use a computer and the Internet.
- Keeping yourself and your computer safe online
- How to use the most common Microsoft productivity software applications including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
- Explores a range of digital skills and practices over four key modules, providing the learner with the ability to utilise technology to interact with the world around them.
To register, learners will need:
- A device, such as a phone, tablet or computer, with internet connectivity
- Valid email address,
- South African ID number.
Learners that do not have an email address can register for a free Microsoft Outlook email account from the platform.
Upon completion they will be issued with a Microsoft Imagine Academy certificate.
This certificate will allow South African’s to claim recognition of prior learning in Digital Literacy at any institution of higher learning.
In today’s digital world, nearly every career requires digital communication at some point.
Standard Bank believes that equipping yourself with the skills to effectively and responsibly find, evaluate, communicate, and share online content is key to your future.
The course will continue to be available post the lockdown period. To learn more about the Microsoft Digital Literacy course – visit learn section on the Standard Bank website.
Extension of instalment relief measures to personal account customers
To help its customer base navigate financial commitments during Covid-19, Standard Bank has come up with a number of relief measures.
The payment reprieve is aimed at easing the financial burden of customers earning R7 500 or less.
They will receive three-month instalment relief if they are not in arrears as of 31 March 2020.
This relief applies to qualifying customers and their associated accounts.
Customers who opt for the relief will see their interest and bank charges capitalised over the term of their loan agreements.
The three-month instalment relief was made available on 1 April 2020 and will stretch until the end of June 2020.
SAFT relief for SMME employees
Standard Bank is an official partner of the South African Future Trust (SAFT) for SMMEs.
The bank has agreed to waive fees related to administering this fund during this period of national disaster.
This is meant to maximize the funds available to recipients.
SAFT, is an independent trust set up to extend direct financial support to the employees of SMMEs who are at risk of losing their jobs.
As a Standard Bank customer, SMMEs will be able to register for assistance online email.
SMMEs who meet the following criteria will be eligible for support:
- Turnover below R25 million per annum
- Ability to demonstrate the impact of COVID-19 on their operations now, or in the future
- Trading for at least 24 months
- Business is in good standing
You can start preparing your application by getting the below information ready:
- Company registration number (if you have a company or a close corporation), or
- The master’s reference number (if applying on behalf of a trust), or
- Identity number and business address (if you are a sole proprietor)
- Names and ID numbers of all directors/members/trustees / sole proprietor
- PAYE number (if applicable)
- Income tax number
- A list of the full-time employees to receive relief with the full names, ID number, bank account details, and contact details.
If your loan is approved, it will take up to seven days after signing the loan agreement for the first week’s payments to be deposited into your account.
Employees do not apply directly for this fund; qualifying small businesses to apply for the benefit of their employees.
Employee recipients will also carry no financial liability, and any payments made by SAFT to the employees will be free and clear of income tax.
The employer (approved small business) will enter into the loan agreement with SAFT.
Insurance clients to receive 25% cashback
Standard Bank Insurance is implementing a 25% cash back relief on its car insurance premiums.
The cash back on premiums forms part of the range of insurance relief initiatives during these trying times.
The cash back will be paid back 14 days after the lock down ends to clients who are up to date and continue to pay their car insurance premiums over this period.
Standard Bank Insurance will calculate the cashback at a rate of 25% per day on the premium that a client pays on their car insurance.
Payments will be made into the same bank account from which Standard Bank collects the monthly car insurance premium from.
Cashback is applicable for the period of the Government announced lockdown.
Clients will be refunded at 25% per day over the lockdown period of their car insurance premiums.
Should the lockdown be extended, Standard Bank Insurance will adjust the client’s cashback and extend it.
It will thus cover the full period of the lockdown to ensure that they get the maximum cashback.
The cashback for each month will be calculated separately.
Credit Life Insurance Products
Credit life insurance protection is a solution which seeks to ensure that consumers are protected and shielded from their personal or business credit exposure when unforeseen events impacting on their ability to earn an income occur.
Examples of typical events that may be covered through credit life insurance policies include death, disability, critical illness and retrenchment.
It is important that customers understand their policies and terms. The protection provided on their particular policy, to help them make the right decisions in these difficult times.
If the terms of the loan granted by Standard Bank required compulsory comprehensive credit life insurance cover. Coupled with the loan granted after 9 August 2017, the bank’s comprehensive credit life insurance will cover instalments for up to 12 months. That is in the event of you becoming unable to earn any income.
Standard Bank lending products that require comprehensive compulsory credit life insurance include all Personal Term Loans and Home Loans.
However, this is for customers who have a combined income of less than R25 000.
Standard Bank will issue direct communication to customers to explain the terms and conditions of their individual credit life policies.
COVID- 19 Chatbot
Join the Standard Bank Whatsapp chatbot to know more about Standard Bank debt relief offerings.
The chatbot is providing accurate and verified information on Standard Bank’s response to COVID-19.
You will also find answers to frequently asked questions and links to official sources of information on the pandemic.
To access the Standard Bank chatbot, customers can send a message via WhatsApp to +27 64 570 0291.
The information that will be available on this service include:
- Banking service is available during the lockdown.
- Relief being offered to clients whose income is affected by the pandemic
- Measures are in place to curb the spread of the virus at Standard Bank locations.
- Standard Bank’s responsibilities to economic activity.
- How the Standard Bank is supporting government relief efforts.
- Where South Africans can get more information on COVID 19 in South Africa.