From March 2020 we witnessed the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on individuals, families, businesses, societies and countries as infection rates escalated around the world and in SA. In response to this, governments globally have implemented emergency measures to curb the spread of the virus. At Nedbank we have and continue to work tirelessly to ensure that all our stakeholders deal with this escalating challenge. Our primary focus is on the health and safety of our staff alongside the continuous and uninterrupted provision of world-class banking and other financial services to our clients.
Financial markets dropped sharply and market movements are more volatile than during the global financial crisis as investors reduced their risk appetite and grappled with estimating the economic impacts of Covid-19 – with many economists predicting that some form of global recession is likely. In addition, global oil markets have also dropped sharply following disagreements between Russia and Saudi Arabia on levels of supply. Events like these are difficult to predict and referred to as ‘black swan’ events – meaning they are rare events that can have extreme consequences. On their own, the spread of Covid-19 or the oil price fall would be difficult for many parts of the world to deal with, but together they are exceptionally challenging.
Despite various scientific and forecasting models, the real long-term impact of these events on economic growth will only emerge over time – but in the short term economic activity in many places has dropped materially and financial markets are likely to continue to be volatile as more data on infection rates and economic activity emerges. This is likely to be particularly the case in SA as our economy was already under stress, so these events could not have come at a worse time for our country.
What have we done in responseto COVID-19?
If ever there was a time to be the difference that impacts our world; if ever there was a time to be stronger together, the time is now. At Nedbank we will continue to use our financial expertise, in this difficult time, to do good.
- All Nedbankers called upon to embrace our Nedbank Pledge – to be mindful in the time of the Covid-19 outbreak and to set an example not only for other Nedbankers, but for our families, clients and communities in preventing the spread of Covid-19.
- We continue to pay our exempt microenterprises within seven days and qualifying SMEs within 30 days from invoice for services rendered.
- Our market-leading digital banking solutions support clients to do payments remotely and from home as we support efforts to ‘flatten the curve’.
- Nedbank is one of the four leading banks that will administer the South African Future Trust scheme (established by Nicky and Jonathan Oppenheimer) to facilitate the distribution of loans to small businesses. This will be at no cost to the fund and we have also waived our normal credit fees for all loans approved under the scheme to maximise the funds available to recipients.
- We have donated R12m towards Covid-19 relief efforts – of that R5m specifically for the Red Cross.
- For the duration of the current lockdown and to help those most vulnerable in our society, we have significantly reduced our charges for South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) grant beneficiaries and increased the number of pay-points they can use to collect their grants, which will help maintain social distancing in queues at bank branches and retailers. This means SASSA beneficiaries will have more options for collecting their grants, including using ATMs at reduced costs.
We may be far apart. But we’re in this together.
By empowering ourselves with the right information, and sharing it with the people we care about, we can take the necessary steps to navigate these uncertain times together.
In recent weeks we have seen the increasing impact of Covid-19 on individuals, families and businesses. As your banking partner, we are taking all the necessary measures to ensure that you can continue to do your banking safely, with all the security you require.