The economic meltdown that has come along with COVID-19 has caught many unawares and the impact is felt by just about everyone. Different people are going through different challenges as they try to weather the storms of salary cuts, job losses, and severe negative effects on their businesses.
A lot of companies and financial institutions are taking steps to cushion their personnel and customers. Being one of the largest lenders in the country for example, Equity Bank has come up with a Business Continuity Plan to protect customers, staff, and business. This is in recognition that the Government enforced curfew and lockdowns have severely affected global supply chains, and therefore people’s ways of making livelihoods.
With an estimated 97% of the global aviation business down and 87% of hospitality business down, we’re looking at job losses of tens of millions of people. And those are just two sectors. A huge chunk of the manufacturing sector has shut down in the United and Europe.
Closer home Equity Group has recognized that 1.2 million people are reported to have lost their jobs, 30% of tenants have challenges paying their rents for the month of April while the informal sector has stagnated. Power consumption and demand is reported to have fallen by 14% reflecting shut down of factories and manufacturing plants.
With adverse effects even in agriculture and education, COVID-19 has since evolved into social-economic crisis. In view of all these challenges, the bank has decided to take a personalized approach to restructure customer loans to help people navigate through the economic effects.
Equity Group will support its clients and customers to survive, recover and thrive by the end of COVID-19 pandemic. Clients who can demonstrate the impact of Covid-19 on their businesses and soundness of their business model in the new normal will get reprieve of loan rescheduling and refinancing with up to an additional three years of repayment.
“We have been on a journey with our customers and wish to go far by walking together with them. We believe that by supporting our existing clients, we shall help them keep their supply chains open and functional while maintaining their employees on their jobs,” Said Dr. Mwangi, the Group managing Director & CEO.
This gesture which includes principal and/or interest repayment breaks or reduction of payment instalments is intended to ensure that Equity Bank clients focus on cash preservation to ensure survival of their businesses and enterprises. With a crisis that has no quick foreseeable end, Equity has decided to be a patient and listening caring partner to its customers who have been loyal and faithful. The bank is now looking at survival, sustainability, and recoveries of their clients who are the reason they exist at all.
Dr Mwangi concluded by reminding customers to continue being vigilant by adhering to the Ministry of Health guidelines on health and safety standards during this period.