FNB may offer a Covid-19 debt break – if you prove loss of income and have good credit

Business Insider SA
  • First National Bank (FNB) on Monday became the latest bank to announce emergency debt-relief measures for customers hit by Covid-19.
  • But it requires a letter from an employer, or, for the self-employed, a set of financial statements to show loss of income due to the viral disaster.
  • Those with up to date accounts with FNB – and who have had historically good credit with other providers too – will be first in the queue.
  • For more stories go to the Business Insider South Africa homepage.

First National Bank (FNB) will be offering debt repayment holidays of up to three months to its customers – but terms and conditions apply.

The bank now has "measures to provide relief to individual and business customers whose financial stability has been impacted by Covid-19" it said in a press release on Monday, promising "individualised bridge facilities" where needed, and up to three months of partial or no instalment payment.

FNB did not say exactly who would qualify, and did not immediately respond to Business Insider South Africa's questions on the qualifying criteria.

But an update to its app showed that strict conditions may apply.

Though the debt relief is available from 1 April, FNB said it would require a letter from an employer to show loss of income due to the novel coronavirus. Those who are self-employed would need to submit financial statements.

The bank will also be looking into credit history, and not just with FNB.

“... those that are up to date with their commitments and have historically conducted heir relationship with FNB and other credit providers responsibly... are those most likely to qualify for one of the various debt relief solutions FNB will offer," the bank told customers via its app. 

In a voice note accompanying the announcement press release, FNB CEO Jacques Celliers described the debt relief to qualifying customers as "phase one", with the possibility of a "phase two" for those who do not qualify.

Qualifying customers will be eligible for the payment holidays across every kind of debt, both secured and unsecured.

Interest and fees will continue to accumulate.

Debt and other banking measures have rapidly evolved. As of Sunday night Standard Bank had offered debt-repayment holidays to customers, while Absa said anyone with an account in good standing would be eligible for a repayment holiday. Nedbank has previously offered "individualised" solutions for those struggling with debt because of the viral disaster.

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(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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