Uganda’s biggest commercial bank, Stanbic Bank, says it will provide loan holidays to its customers including corporate, small businesses and employed clients, to ease the economic pressure resulting from the coronavirus crisis.
In the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak in Uganda, the government has taken strict measures – suspension of public and private transport, closure of businesses and workplaces, cancelation of flights in and out of the country – which have made it difficult for Ugandans to earn a livelihood.
For those that have running loans with banks, it will be very difficult to service them when at a time they are struggling to put food on the table.
While government initially announced that the restrictions could last at least a month and others two weeks, further extensions are very likely given the trend in new cases of Covid-19. Uganda so far reported 52 cases of COVID-19 since the first case was announced 17 days ago.
Stanbic bank has issued a statement saying it understands that the situation has placed challenges in many of its customers’ day to day lives, disrupted their livelihoods and business operations.
“This is why we have provided relief measures to support you and your businesses in the best way we can. Be reassured we are standing with you in this difficult time,” Anne Juuko, the chief executive of Stanbic Bank Uganda said.
The bank says through its Relations Managers, it is engaging with its customers (corporate and individuals) to find out how it can restructure their terms of payments for loans.
For SMEs and self employed customers, the bank says those whose incomes have been impacted as a result of Covid-19 can apply for a payment holiday of up to 90 days based on their unique circumstances.
In the case of employed customers whose income has been impacted by the pandemic, Juuko says Stanbic will work with employers to agree on an appropriate debt relief package.
“We are working hard to provide you with the continuity you need to keep moving through these uncertain times,” the chief executive said.
In its recent monetary policy statement this week, the Central Bank of Uganda granted commercial banks exceptional permission to restructure loans of corporate and individual customers including a moratorium on loan repayment for borrowers that have been affected by Covid-19.
Bank of Uganda however said this would be done on a case by case basis at the discretion of the banks for up to 12 months effective April 1.