The Banking Association South Africa (BASA) and its members are fully aware of the threat that the Covid-19 virus poses to the health and welfare of all South Africans and to the economy.
We fully support the steps government is taking to prevent the spread of the virus, including the declaration of a national state of disaster. We stand ready to play our part, in partnership with our regulators; and business, labour, government and civil society, through the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).
As banks are an essential part of the business and financial infrastructure of the country, they are subject to intrusive regulation to protect their customers and the economy.
BASA is urgently consulting banking regulators and the competition authorities to determine how best the banking industry can protect its customers, small businesses and staff from Covid-19 and the social and economic impact of the pandemic. While we are fully cognisant that the country is facing a crisis that demands an urgent response, we need to ensure that our actions are fair, legal, effective and sustainable for the duration of the pandemic – and afterwards. Any steps taken by the association or its member banks to alleviate the effects of the crisis will be detailed as soon as possible.
In the meantime, we are confident that our members are effectively implementing the health and safety guidelines issued by the relevant authorities and their own risk management procedures. Banks’ operational risk management procedures are regularly tested and as yet there is no cause for any concern.