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Partnerships 19 May 2020

Standard Bank South African Future Trust allocation fully subscribed

All the funds, totalling R250 million assigned to Standard Bank by the South African Future Trust (SAFT) have been allocated to the employees of qualifying SMMEs, after six weeks of administering the fund.

“As one of the official six SAFT Partner Banks, we are proud to have played our part in this initiative. We are closing out the last few applications, which will conclude with us having supported more than 3 500 small businesses and 22 000 employees with SAFT loans to the value of approximately R250 million”, Simone Cooper, Head of Business Banking at Standard Bank South Africa.

The SAFT fund, established by Nicky and Jonathan Oppenheimer, has enabled thousands of small businesses in the country to support what many would call their greatest asset: their people, through employee wage relief. As Standard Bank we are humbled to have been able to play our part in this endeavour and to have supported more than 3 500 of our small business clients to access this much needed relief.

Although SAFT funding is no longer available, we continue to consider additional relief measures in the form of both financial and non-financial support, as well collaborating with other entities and government to enable support. One of these additional relief offers include the government’s COVID-19 Term Loan Scheme for which the Bank began processing applications last week (May 12).  Under the scheme business customers with an annual turnover of less than R300m will now be able to apply for a Covid-19 Term Loan.

A business must also be:

  • In good standing as at 29 February 2020 with their Bank
  • Registered with the South African Revenue Services
  • Have no existing capacity to borrow
  • Negatively impacted by the Covid-19 lockdown and the resultant slowdown in the economy

Funds borrowed through the Scheme can be used for a business’s operational expenses such as salaries, rent, lease agreements and contracts with suppliers. Loans will cover up to three months of operational costs.  Standard Bank customers who want to apply for a loan can download the application form on Standard Bank’s Covid-19 website.

All Standard Bank’s financial relief measures for SMEs also remain in place. Standard Bank Business customers with turnover of less than R20 million per annum have been automatically offered  instalment relief via a three month payment holiday and all Business customers have been offered a range of relief measures, on an opt in basis, ranging from payment holidays, instalment reduction, debt consolidation, interest rate reduction to ex gratia insurance payment for lost income.

“The need to support our SMEs and their employees in South Africa is paramount to how we manage the economic impact of the national lockdown implemented because of COVID-19. SAFT was an example of how we can do this if various parts of the private sector pool their resources for the betterment of our citizens and the rate of subscription to the fund highlights the plight of many South African businesses today,” Cooper concludes.