A friend in need? Stanbic extends loan relief to Covid-19 stressed borrowers
Ugandan lender Stanbic has revealed a range of packages to lessen the burden on borrowers whose ability to stick to loan schedules might be impacted by the economic disruption caused by the COVID19 pandemic. The bank has also announced a lowering of its prime rate from 17.5pc to 16.5, starting may.
The relief is available from the start of April and borrowers in need of loan relief have until the end of the month to apply.
Stanbic Bank Uganda’ Captain Anne Juuko said the bank was engaging corporate borrowers to ensure business sustainability while SME customers can apply for loan holidays lasting up to 90 days.
“We are encouraging our clients to reach out to our business bankers, relationship managers or our customer care centre. We understand that the situation has presented challenges to day to day lives, disrupted livelihoods and business operations. This is why we are providing relief measures to support you in the best way we can,” Juuko said.
She added that the bank would also proactively work with employers to agree on an appropriate debt relief package for salary loan customers whose incomes might have been impacted by the Covid-19 crisis.
Grace Mulisa, the acting Head of Personal and Business Banking said, the bank would try to find new solutions that will allow businesses efficiently to function efficiently during the crisis.
“Cognisant of the challenges SMEs face to access financing, we will continue to be at the forefront of delivering wholesome solutions to entrepreneurs directly through strategic alliances and partnerships,” Mulisa said.
SME’s are the key growth engine for Uganda’s economy, employing more than 2.5 million people, more than threefold the 0.8 million employed in the upper echelons of the private sector.
Stanbic holds a significant loan book which expanded 14pc or UGX 344 billion during 2019. The bank which posted an UGX 259 billion profit accounted for 40pc of new loan disbursements in Uganda during the year.
The twin moves – the loan holidays and slackening the prime rate follow an incentive package by the Bank of Uganda which has allowed lenders to restructure loan facilities for distressed lenders and a downward adjustment in the reserve ratio from 8pc to 7. On April 6, the central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee also lowered its benchmark rate, the CBR by 100 basis points to 8pc, the lowest level since policy tool was introduced nine years.