Ajmair Riaz, Country Head of Retail Banking, Standard Chartered Bank Tanzania.
Monday 18 th May 2020 – Standard Chartered Bank Tanzania has become the first Bank in Tanzania to announce relief measures for its Individual and Business Clients whose income and cash flows have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement issued by the Bank, Mr. Ajmair Riaz, the Bank’s Country Head of Retail Banking, said that his team has been working very closely with the Bank’s clients in the Individual and Business segments to understand the financial challenges that they are facing during this
“During this unprecedented period, we understand the challenges that prevail including from a financial aspect. In this regard, we have been reaching out to our clients to discuss how the pandemic is affecting them and the various challenges that they are facing.
We have, therefore, based on discussions with our various clients, decided to take proactive actions to introduce relief measures that will ease the financial burden for our Individual and Business Clients whose income and cash flows have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Mr. Riaz said.
Mr. Riaz added that his Bank has looked into a number of options for supporting its clients and had narrowed down to two effective measures which comprise of either a payment holiday or tenor extension for loan repayments.
He highlighted that these options are open to Individual clients who have Personal Loans or Mortgages with the Bank, as well as Business Clients, mainly in the SME sector, who have taken loans from the Bank.
He also added that the relief measures which will be granted to the Bank’s clients, will be based on a criteria that will consider financial impact arising from cases such as unpaid leave, salary reduction, job loss, infected customers, loss of business and other reasons that the Bank may find reasonable during this unprecedented time.
Speaking about the specific options of the relief measures Mr. Riaz explained that clients who opt for the option of a payment holiday will get a three-month moratorium, and the option of the extension of the Loan Tenure entails a twelve-month additional period to make repayments,
resulting into smaller repayment instalments that the Bank’s clients can bear.
“Our Clients continue to be the reason why we are in business, and why we are ‘Here for good’ as per our Brand Promise. We are also committed to enhancing prosperity for our clients. As we go through this unprecedented period, we remain committed to supporting them to come out of it with minimal impact, if any, on their financial status. We, therefore, believe that the options of a three-
month moratorium, and a twelve-month extension on the loan repayments tenure will go a long way in minimizing the financial impact to our clients, and we will discuss these options with them accordingly as and when we receive their requests.” Mr. Riaz added.
As the country continues to combat the spread of the pandemic, Mr. Riaz urged the Bank’s clients to further leverage on the Bank’s Digital capabilities. He highlighted that the Bank’s Full Digital Bank on Mobile offers more than seventy banking services thus enabling users to carry out all their transactions without needing to come to any of the Bank’s branches.
“As we go through this period, the health of our clients is our priority. In this regard, we continue to advocate for, and drive branchless and cashless banking. With our Full Digital Bank on Mobile our clients need not visit any of our branches. They can make their utility payments, move money from their accounts to their mobile phone accounts, and vice versa, they can carry out foreign currency transactions as well as manage their Debit Cards, from activating to deactivating them. All these can be done from the safety of our clients’ premises.” Mr. Riaz said.
Touching on the Bank’s SME clients, Mr. Riaz said that the Bank’s enhanced Straight2Bank Digital Platform enables business owners to fully carry out their financial obligations including payment of salaries, Tax payments as well as payment to vendors, among other obligations, at the safety of their premises.
“I’d like to remind our clients to continue using our Digital Banking capabilities to reduce physical interaction at branches and decrease the handling of cash. We should also continue to follow the Government’s and Medical Experts’ precautionary measures. I believe that we will make it through when we stay diligent, keep our hope towards the future, and foster cooperation. We continue to
be committed to doing the best we can for our clients in these unprecedented times.” Mr. Riaz concluded.