Republic Bank Ghana Limited has placed a six-month moratorium on the repayment of loans it granted to customers, in a bid to help its clients cope with the devastating impact of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on businesses and economies.
In a release issued Thursday, March 26, 2020, the bank said the offer also included a waiver on fees that customers would have paid.
It explained that the offer was available to customers that apply and further advised customers to do so by contacting their respective branch/corporate managers or relationship officers from March 27, 2020, onwards.
"In addition, the bank has also introduced automatic waivers until June 30, 2020, on excess fees and late fees on loan repayments," the statement added.
It said the Managing Director of the Bank, Mr Farid Antar, recognized "the economic effect of social distancing which has become necessary to stem the spread of the virus.
“As a bank with a heart, we recognise that these are critical times for everyone, with an expected high pressure on cash flows for both individuals and businesses.
"We have therefore taken a bold decision to offer a loan payment deferment option to our Customers and Staff," it said.
The MD expressed the hope that the action would cushion the cash flows of customers and staff in order to support them to take all precautionary measures needed to protect their families and themselves from the spread of the virus.
It is expected that the gesture by the bank would be the beginning of similar offers by banks aiming to cushion their loan books against extreme write-offs at a time when Covid-19 had historically dampened consumer and business confidence.
Earlier, the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) had called on banks and other lenders to freeze loan repayments for its members struggling to import and distribute goods at a time the viral spread had restricted trade.
The COVID-19 has already claimed three lives in Ghana after infecting more than 130 people, according to the Ghana Health Service.