Nigeria’s Polaris Bank Limited, yesterday, announced that it has decided to wave aside all the charges associated with loan defaults, albeit for the meantime.
In a brief statement that was issued on Twitter, the bridge bank explained that the decision was taken out of consideration for its customers, some of whom might be experiencing financial difficulties during this Coronavirus pandemic/lockdown.
Note that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) allows commercial banks in the country to impose penalties on customers who default on loan repayments. However, the Polaris Bank has chosen to wave the penalties for now.
In specific terms, the bank had assured that the forbearance period will last for ninety days, starting from March 1st, 2020. Some part of the statement said:
“While CBN’s guide allows banks for a 1% flat penalty for loan repayments due and not met, we have eased the pressure by waving this charge for our loan customers during this trying period of COVID-19.”
This is a really thoughtful move by Polaris Bank Limited. And as expected, some of the bank’s customers are quite pleasantly surprised by the gesture. While reacting to the announcement, some customers commended the bank, even as they did not hesitate to make comparisons.
God bless you! Commendable
— Adubiobi (@chief_foteyokun) April 3, 2020
Good job. Don't mind @gtbank Wey don forget say na lock down we dey and still removing their loan money.
— Hulk-Marcopolo ❄ (@HULK4CHRIST) April 3, 2020
Recall that Nigeria witnessed its first Coronavirus case in late February when an infected Italian worker unknowingly brought the contagious disease into the country. Since then, Africa’s most populous country has recorded a total of 210 cases.
The virus scare recently informed the Federal Government’s decision to issue lockdown orders, particularly for Lagos State (the epicenter of the virus in Nigeria), as well as Ogun State and Abuja. Unfortunately, the lockdown has wrought economic hardships on some Nigerians, especially those who work in the informal sector.
In the meantime, many Nigerian companies have rallied to provide financial support to the government at this point. So far, billions of naira have been donated by the companies, some of whom are hoping that the donations would be tax-deductible.
(READ MORE: AMCON to sell Polaris Bank to new investors)
Yet, some Nigerians have never stopped wondering why all the money is going to the government, with none entering their bank accounts.
— I_am_The_CEO_7Stars (@Ajibola_Adetutu) April 3, 2020