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Banking Association mulls industry response to COVID-19 pressure

The spread of the virus has had adverse effects on the already ailing economy, with some businesses struggling to perform at optimum productivity.

Banking Association of South Africa's Cas Coovadia. Picture: @BankingZA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – The Banking Association of South Africa on Sunday said it was working on an industry response to address the effects of the coronavirus on banking and business.

The spread of the virus has had adverse effects on the already ailing economy, with some businesses struggling to perform at optimum productivity.

Last week, Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago announced a 100 basis point cut in interest rates to help stimulate the economy, but with fears of a complete shutdown due to the virus – that may not be enough.

Standard Bank has become the first of the major banks to announce a payment holiday for its students and small business loan clients on all up to date loans.

The Banking Association's Cas Coovadia said they were approaching the Competition Commission to discuss what they could do as an industry without being anti-competitive.

“I need to bring my board around the table to speak about an industry response and an industry intervention; two big things which under normal circumstances would be anti-competitive and breaking the competition legislation because we would be seen to be colluding.”

Coovadia said he had interacted with the commission and Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel.

“Either today or tomorrow we are pretty confident that a gazette will be proclaimed.”