Nedbank said in a statement today that it welcomes the launch of the South African Future Trust (SAFT), established by Nicky and Jonathan Oppenheimer, and is proud to announce that it will help facilitate the distribution of loans to small businesses on behalf of SAFT.
The main aim of the SAFT is to mitigate the immediate economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis by keeping companies in business and protecting jobs, in order to fast track SA’s economic recovery after this pandemic. The Trust will extend direct financial support to employees of South African Small, Medium and Micro-sized businesses who are at risk of losing their jobs or will suffer a loss of income because of COVID-19. The SAFT has been funded with an initial contribution of R1bn by Nicky and Jonathan Oppenheimer.
Four of South Africa’s leading banks, including Nedbank, will administer the scheme at no cost to the fund. The banks have also waived their normal credit fees for all loans approved under the SAFT scheme to maximise the funds available to recipients.
“Nedbank acknowledges that this is a time of heightened anxiety for our small business clients and their employees, not just in terms of their personal health but also their economic survival. We welcome this initiative which will provide some relief to small businesses, the lifeblood of our economy. We will continue to look for ways to support our clients during this time of uncertainty and are honoured to play a part in facilitating this process,” Nedbank Retail & Business Banking Managing Executive Ciko Thomas said.
The scheme is currently available to clients of the four banks. SMMEs need to apply to their main bank. Once approved, the funds will be paid directly to the nominated employees, however liability for the loan remains with the business. Funds will be available from 3 April 2020.