Johannesburg, 17 February 2021: Standard Bank has received global recognition for its efforts and best practice in delivering critical financial relief and support to its small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) clients since the onset of the Covid- 19 pandemic.
As the only financial services organisation in South Africa to be invited to participate as a nominee in the “SME Bank of the Year” category at the SME Banking Awards, Standard Bank has been acknowledged with a Silver award. This category recognises top institutions that demonstrated compassion and provided crucial support to SME clients who were hard
hit by the pandemic.
Simone Cooper, Head: Business Clients South Africa at Standard Bank, says: “It is both an honour and a privilege to be recognised on an international stage for the relief efforts and key initiatives that we, as Standard Bank South Africa, implemented to help businesses cope financially and to continue to operate under the ‘new normal’.”
Standard Bank joins other established, international banks such as Swedbank, Allianz Bank and Barclays who were nominated in the SME Bank of the Year category as part of the inaugural Efma-Mastercard SME Banking Awards for 2020.
Efma and Mastercard partnered to create a global SME banking community, conducting interviews with major banks from across the globe to get a view on what is being done to transform SME banking and support clients during Covid-19, and to establish a set of best practices.
Efma says that Standard Bank is an excellent example of this phenomenon. The arrival of the pandemic meant having to shift to new ways of working, accelerating the use of digital solutions. This presented a mammoth task for South Africa’s financial services sector.
Standard Bank took the lead, becoming the first bank in the country to announce financial relief measures for small businesses to allow for breathing room in which to manage their financial commitments, and to allow them to honour payments to their employees. It also accelerated digital solutions and highlighted existing ones that it felt were most
relevant in helping businesses pivot.
“This award demonstrates Standard Bank’s unwavering commitment to finding new ways to keep South African businesses going during this critical time. It is highly encouraging to the individuals and teams that have worked tirelessly throughout this difficult time to ensure that businesses who employ the people of South Africa can survive and contribute to the
growth and recovery of our economy,” Cooper concludes.