With both a health crisis and a mobility crisis, caused by the restrictions of a National State of Disaster, the financial sector adapted their contingency plans for a financial crisis, to place the customer at the centre while rapidly shifting to a work from home environment for everyone, never anticipated by a highly regulated and conservative sector. This research covers the impact of Covid-19 on the financial sector in South Africa.
Regulatory changes and aggressive interest rate reductions, voluntary support though changes in contractual terms and waivers on payments to accommodate distressed consumers and businesses, were combined with increased liquidity support for markets. To support economic activity, bank lending to distressed customers and the loan guarantee scheme, were combined with rapid insurance pay-outs and emergency access to retirement savings. The support for the cash economy and the payment of social grants was supplemented by additional grant payments that provided a lifeline to many.
The importance of the Financial Sector Contingency Forum and the collaboration between industry bodies and regulators when planning for disasters, was a key success factor in the rapid response of the financial sector to Covid-19.