Major Banks react to COVID-19

Bankscovidcombo

Three major banks in Malta have announced extraordinary measures to help customers manage their money without risking COVID-19 contagion. Effectively, all three banks: APS, BOV and HSBC are adopting a two-pronged approach. They are limiting human contact to the barest minimum. They are also providing a cashflow cushion for businesses in this challenging period. Business observers have commented to Newsbook.com.mt that the COVID-19 pandemic may be the death of some small businesses. They argued that cashflows will be affected and that this if protracted, will seriously jeopardise some businesses.

APS: regulating customer flow

As a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19 and to help protect customers
and staff, APS Bank is taking the below actions with immediate effect:

▪️ Change in opening hours of branches – Monday to Friday 09:00 – 13:00 and Saturday 09:00 –
12:00. Extended opening hours in the evening are suspended.

▪️ Regulating the flow of customers within our branches.

▪️ The Contact Centre will continue operating 08:00 – 20:00, Monday till Saturday
(excluding Public Holidays).

APS Bank also encourages customers to use the myAPS mobile banking as well as ATMs and
Deposit Machines available at the branches.

BOV: use your electronics

Following
recent developments relating to the current COVID-19 scenario, Bank of Valletta
is urging customers to visit the Bank only in case of urgent business. Customers
are instead encouraged to use the Bank’s wide range of electronic channels as
follows:

  • Pay with BOV Contactless Cards and BOV Pay
  • Withdraw cash through ATMs
  • Effect cash and cheque deposits through
    ATMs and Nightsafe Deposit Facilities
  • Carry out banking transactions through BOV
    Internet Banking, BOV Mobile Banking and Customer Service Centre

Bank of Valletta is monitoring the current
situation on a continuous basis in close collaboration with the government and
the health authorities and it will
continue to take all the necessary measures to safeguard its customers and staff members.

The Bank will communicate any further changes
as the situation evolves.

HSBC: Providing a cushion

HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c. announced it has introduced
a number of measures to support businesses which may be negatively affected by
the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

These measures, which are coming into effect
immediately for those businesses which meet HSBC Malta’s credit criteria,
include capital repayment holidays; fee-free temporary short-term working
capital funding; faster turnaround on the issuance of shipping guarantees and
the waiver of urgency fees; as well as the waiver of amendment fees on Letters
of Credit impacted by delays.

Joyce Grech, Head of Commercial Banking at HSBC
Malta said, “The outbreak of the Coronavirus is having a significant impact on
the global economy and, of course, Malta is also being affected. As we enter
what is likely to be a challenging period, particularly for businesses in
certain sectors, HSBC Malta is determined to do what it can to provide the
support our customers need.”

The bank said that as the situation develops it
will continue to monitor the situation and to assess what further measures may
be necessary.

Lombard Bank: financial cache

Earlier this week Lombard Bank Malta plc contacted each of its borrowing customers offering to assist with cashflow requirements which may result from adverse impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Mindful that this outbreak stands to result in negative consequences on the activities of its business customers, the Bank has allotted €12.5 million, to provide temporary working capital requirements to those business customers facing temporary liquidity shortages.
The fund will be offered on favourable terms, including a fixed debit interest rate of 2.5% per annum for amounts up to €350,000 and for a period up to 18 months.

Each case will be treated on its own merits and subject to the usual lending criteria, while no bank processing fees will be charged.

The creation of this fund is apart from any other measures which the Bank may introduce to its customers as assistance during these extraordinary times.

Those existing Lombard Bank customers who wish to learn more about availing themselves of this fund are to contact their relationship manager.