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Customer proximity in practice

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Cov​​​id-19: Customer proximity in practice​

​WSBI-ESBG Members do their utmost best to help their private and professional clients weather these difficult times. Find below an overview of what our members are doing, per country. New cases are added regularly.






Borrowers who request to postpone payments until 31 May 2020 should get in contact with the bank. Starting from 1st of June 2020, the borrowers should pay the postponed installments for the period 13 of March 2020 till 31st of May 2020.

Borrowers, whether they have made a request to postpone the payments or not, will not pay penalties for late payments untill 31 of May 2020.

Visits to branches are limited, online services and social distances are strongly promoted. ​


Austrian Savings Banks Association

Donations have been made to the Austrian Red Cross. 

The Austrian savings banks have also launched a voucher campaign. To support regional businesses, vouchers from various companies are bought and donated to those in need. This is done in coordination with aid organisations. The companies where the vouchers can be redeemed include e.g. retailers and grocers, bakeries, restaurants, hairdressers and beauty salons, farmers and winegrowers, taxi companies, etc.
To support local associations that are committed to active work with youth, even in times of crisis, there are vouchers for products and services by local companies that can be redeemed after the government measures implemented to fight the corona crisis have been lifted. Thus, the local associations and the regional economy are supported at the same time. 

Other measures include :

  • Open corona helpline for companies, other professionals and private individuals, that is available every day (including weekends). 

  • Facilitated loan deferrals through simple online processing: A dedicated webpage for entrepreneurs has been developed, that provides valuable information about available funding programs and other support measures, ranging from tools for liquidity planning to downloadable applications for bridging finance and instalment deferrals. The form for requesting loan deferrals is downloadable from the website and also available in the App George. 

  •  Corona Ombudsman: A dedicated Corona Ombudsman was introduced as a neutral point of contact for customers to help clarify and resolve issues. 

  •  Online payment solutions for local SMEs: The local economy was also supported during the lockdown by making available online payment solutions to local enterprises, that do not have an online shop or digital payment solutions, which, however, were making home deliveries. 

  • Emergency information platform: An information platform was established in order to ensure that important information for the region reached the local population. 

  • Support to people from risk groups: As of 2 April 2020, one hour (between 9:00 – 10:00) has been reserved for visits from people from risk groups. 

The Austrian savings banks association has 2 websites dedicated to Covid-19. Therein clients will find information about our supports regarding financing, deferrals, extensions of credit lines, payments, insurance etc; our safety measures in the branches as well as further information about the governmental legislation and provisions. ​ 

Erste Bank and Sparkassen also provide individual support to companies through bridge financing, deferrals or extension of the credit lines even without public guarantees.  

The Austrian Savings Banks Foundation-​Erste Foundation has created a CEE solidarity fund with the objective to help small- and medium-sized NGOs in Central and Eastern Europe to overcome the current crisis, namely through non-repayable grants. Further support is in the planning, such as interest-free loans for medium-sized NGOs. ​



Kapital Bank

Promotion of contactless payments, online payments.

To stimulate trade relations with foreign countries, the bank reduced the fee for money transfers to all foreign destinations through the "Client Bank" system (Internet banking) and now it is 0.2%.

To increase financial accessibility for SMEs, the fee for obtaining business loans was reduced to zero, and the cost of insurance and property valuation will be borne by the Bank. The campaign will run until April 30, 2020.

The Kapital bank allocated funds to a Coronavirus Support Fund.

The bank has launched yet another support campaign to care for retirees in line with its corporate social responsibility strategy. A number of innovations have been introduced across the country to increase customer satisfaction with Kapital Bank payment cards. Thus, customer cards older than 65 and receiving a pension card will be delivered to their address for the first time.

In addition, cards of existing customers of the same age, but whose cards have expired, will be extended for the next 3 months and they will be able to receive their pensions with their old cards. Pensioners under the age of 65 can come to the branches of Kapital Bank and take their cards.


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​Bank Asia

Quick Response Team for Covid-19 with all contact details available on website. ​

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Priority service during the first two hours is given to the persons of retirement age. During the working day, the priority services is also organized for them. The bank has organized counseling for clients on mortgage and soft loans by phone, it is proposed to use pre-registration when submitting documents, entering into credit and other agreements.  The Bank calls for the active use of non-cash payments, as well as remote payment channels: Internet and mobile banking.


​Coordination of Belgian Savings and Network Banks

​​The Belgian retail and savings banks have fully responded to sector wide initiatives concerning the Covid-19 crisis. The crisis has enormous consequences on several aspects:

  • ​​All branches are closed, except for urgent needs of clients. In these cases, branches are only open on appointment with strict observance of social distancing and hygiene rules. This measure will likely be in place until late June.

  • The internal organisation changed massively overnight and almost the entire staff works from home now.

  • Efforts are done to promote cashless payments by increasing the thresholds and further rolling out the previous planned NFC technology. 

  • Payment on private consumer mortgages can be suspended for 6 months at no administrative cost. The loan being prolonged with 6 months. For those who have a low income (+ 50% of the loans) even the higher interest on these mortgage (due to a longer loan period) will not be charged.

  • The payback of the capital of existing loans to companies can also be postponed, interest must be paid.

  • Consumer credit measures are also being taken and finetuned as we speak.

  • Companies in need of new loans can do that in accordance with a government guarantee scheme of 50 billion euro. Under this scheme the banks have to bear a first loss of 3% and 80% of the 3-5% loss. 

  • Talks are underway on special SME measures.




La Primera e.f.v.​

Branches work with adapted opening hours.


DSK Bank

Information about allocation of funds to hospital system due to Covid-19. ​





Postal Savings Bank of China (PSBC)​

​Online and offline channels are used to promote knowledge related to Covid-19 prevention and control.

Customers are informed about banks’ working hours, which branches are temporarily closed or change business hours. The public is informed of which nearby branches are still open or customer managers from designated non-local branches are dispatched to support the basic needs of local customers.

PSBC worked overtime to open the green channel and shortened loan approval process. The online financial services have been reinforced and customers are educated to use internet banking, mobile banking, WeChat Banking electronic channels to conduct financial business, such as opening and fast payment, an inter-bank transfer function, and make full use of online customer service platform, etc.

With risk control in place, PSBC simplified account-opening process and sped up business processing.

PSBC made full use of online channels to maintain banks’ complaint redressal mechanism, optimize customer consultation and complaint handling process, and handle financial consultation and complaints related to the epidemic timely and properly.

PSBC opened up a fast track, took the initiative to reduce overdue interest fees and extend the repayment period, for the population temporarily affected by the outbreak of income sources, timely adjustment of housing mortgage, credit card and other personal credit repayment arrangements, a reasonable extension of the repayment period, and effectively ease the financial difficulties of consumer customers. In addition, during the fight against the epidemic, payment of donations for epidemic prevention is free of charge. 


Bank of East Asia (BEA)

Supported more than 20,000 people who are underprivileged, elderly with limited mobility, residents of elderly homes and sick and disabled by donating to Covid-19 relief effort.

BEA has also actively applied various online channels, such as online banking, telephone banking, mobile banking, WeChat banking, and self-service machines to provide customers with continuous and comprehensive financial services.

BEA provided exemption from service fees on all transfers to enterprises and individuals in Hubei (epicentre of Covid-19), appropriate extensions to payment deadlines for enterprises and individual customers in Hubei, exemption from service fees on transfers and wealth management products for individual customers in Hubei, and provision of financial assistance to enterprise clients in the province. ​



Banco Caja Social (BCS)​

​For people who need cash money, the daily withdrawal limit has been brought to 8 million pesos. There is no fee for withdrawals, nor in the ATMs of the BCS network, nor for ATMs of other networks. A maximum of transactions are made posible via digital channels.




Banco Popular de Ahorro

​The bank provides information on sanitary measures. All measures recommended by the WHO have been implemented to protect clients and staff.



​Dominican Republic


​Asociación Popular de Ahorros y Préstamos (APAP)​

  • Zero commission in cash advances for 60 days and “Skip Payment" functionality for 30 days for payments due as of the 25 March 2020.  

  • Two weeks grace on loan payment from the due date of payment. 

  • 30 days exemption from charges for late payment that applies to clients with a maximum of 1 instalment pending payment. 

  • Transfers via GRTSS and withdrawals at ATMs free of charge from March 25, 2020.

  • No cost of transactions in all ATMs nationwide, in addition to the existing Unared agreement.

  • APAP Family Credit Card an ally for the purchases in supermarket and pharmacies, with a 5% refund at pharmacies every day and 10% on your purchases at the supermarket on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

  • Fostering the use of contactless modality of the APAP Family Card, minding that cash and even cards can be carriers of microbes, thus prevent the cash/plastic from passing from hand to hand.

  • 0% cash advance via # APAPPMóvil and # APAPenlínea you can make cash advances from your Credit Card or # MásLímiteAPAP from the comfort of your home or at national ATMs- valid from March 19 to April 2, 2020.



​El Salvador​

Federación de Cajas de Cr​édito y Bancos de los Trabajadores (Fedecrédito)​

​Branches are open to help clients but priority is given to digital channels.





In their capacity as local retail banking institutions, committed to their customers, the Banque Populaire banks and Caisses d'Epargne are positioning themselves as key partners of the business community.

Since April 7, the two retail banking networks have been running a major campaign in support of craftspeople, shopkeepers, self-employed professionals, and business organizations. The campaign is designed to highlight how the two banking networks have mobilized their efforts in favor of their business customers and to inform them about the different measures taken to assist them during these exceptional times, namely: State-guaranteed loans and the deferment of loan repayments. 

With commercials aired on the radio (general interest stations) and published online (web, social networks) as well as via newspapers (regional press) and agency advertising (print and dynamic), all types of media will be used by the brands throughout the month of April to reach out to business owners and entrepreneurs, to help them find solutions to get through these difficult times and, in the process, be prepared to spring back once the crisis comes to an end.





 The Deutscher Sparkassen- und Giroverband (DSGV) groups 377 savings banks in Germany. They have between them carried out the following measures:


  • Granted €17 billion in new loans to companies, self-employed and private individuals in March 2020. That is 22.3 percent more than in March 2019.

  • In March 2020, €9.7 billion new loans were granted to companies and the self-employed, 22.6 percent more than in the previous year.

  • Private individuals received loans of €6.9 billion, an increase of 23 percent.

  • 270,000 deferrals have been made by Sparkasse customers of interest and principal payments (as of April 22), including 127,000 private customers and 143,000 commercial customers.

  • The savings banks have applied for 7,674 loans for their customers from KfW, of which 7,125 have already been approved. Around half of all applications for KfW loans come from companies and the self-employed who are looked after by savings banks.

  • The savings banks have advised a total of 1.2 million companies and self-employed individuals in the last 19 banking days alone.

  • Savings banks have increased their capacity for contactless payments – 206 million transactions were contact free in March (11.4% more than February). The upper limit of a contactless transaction has been raised to €50.

  • Savings banks are aiming for all debit cards to be equipped with contactless payment possibility by end-2020.​






Banco Atlá​ntida​

Branches are open, to help clients but priority is given to digital channels.




​​​O​TP Bank​

Moratorium on payment. The deferral shall be limited to loans already disbursed by March 18, 2020, until December 31, 2020, but may be extended by another Government decree. The grace period applies to retail loan, loan, and real estate leasing contracts, including employer loan agreements. The repayment insurance is not affected by the delay in payment.

During the grace period the client is temporarily free from capital, interest and fees, and the original term of the loan is extended by the moratorium.

The interest accrued during the deferral period, together with any installments remaining due, will be payable in equal annual installments after the expiry of the deferral term, such that the amount of the installment and interest payable will not exceed the amount of the original installment. Contracts expiring during the grace period shall be extended until 31 December 2020.

Social measure distances, promotion of online services and payments.​



​State Bank of India (SBI)​

SBI has decided to make additional liquidit credit facilities available via ad-hoc to borrowers whose businesses have been negatively affected by the Covid-19 outbreak and its preventative measures. Instalments will get automatically deferred by 3 months for term loans and customers don't have to apply to banks for it.



ACRI - Association of Italian Foundations and Savings Banks​

The “Associazione di Fondazioni e di Casse di Risparmio Spa” gathers 13 savings banks and 83 foundations with a banking origin. Savings banks and foundations by their own initiative, in accordance with the Italian banking sector and to implement Government and Regional Institutions’ measures against and in response to Covid-19, have carried out the following initiatives:


  • Bank branches have been reorganised in order to react quickly to client requirements and provide the proper support. 

  • For private individuals: 

    • Banks have paid unemployment benefits in advance (and/or the support of salary). 

    • Banks have temporarily frozen private individuals’ loans. These measures have been arranged for people with a low annual gross salary or for those who have lost their job. 

  • For enterprises: 

    • Under the government guarantee scheme, banks have set up new access to finance for companies (credit lines and loans). 

    • ​​An agreement between the Italian banking sector and trade entities blueprinted a debt moratorium in favour of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). 

    • Regional and local programs have been planned by banks (also in collaboration with regional entities) in order to boost local business, facilitate economic activities promptly and respond to urgent needs of private individuals. 

  • For non-profit organisations: 

    • The Italian foundations with a banking origin have set, in accordance with a primary bank, an amount of about EUR 50 million to sustain the non-profit organisations and to strengthen the national health system to tackle Covid-19.​





Banque et Caisse d’Epargne de l’Etat (BCEE)

Branches stay open, but all digital channels are reinforced. Businesses can obtain a moratorium of their current loans for six months. Requests for new credits to cope with the Covid-19 situation will be treated with priority. Vulnerable and elderly clients can ask for cash money to be delivered at their homes. For bank employees, all travel is banned, internal and external meetings are strictly limited.​​






​​​Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN)​

The Bank is mandated by the government to manage loans for micro entrepreneurs through BSN Micro/i Credit Prihatin where a special fund has been allocated by the government. This package comes with a lower rate, no collaterals, higher financing amount from the existing facility and a 6-month moratorium on instalment payments.   

The Bank also offers a lower rate for existing products and finances a special relief facility that covers namely Agrofood Facility (AF) and Automation and Digitalization Facility (ADF).  

The Bank has also announced the automatic moratorium for all loans and eligible customers without compounding the interest for existing conventional loans as a relief for those who are affected by this pandemic.   

Most of the employees work from home and customers are encouraged to use online banking. Those who need to be in the office have shorter working hours. The employees are also being provided with meal packs to ensure they are being protected from being exposed to the Covid-19 virus.  

Through its CSR brand – BSN Care –​ has contributed funds to the Ministry of Health Malaysia and to other organizations/bodies in helping to manage the outbreak of the Covid-19 by purchasing medical equipment.  ​



​Bank of Valletta, together with the Malta Development Bank (MDB), have launched the 'BOV-MDB Covid Assist', a financing scheme aimed at assisting local businesses facing unprecedented disruptions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. The following measures have been taken so far:

  • ​ The scheme will enable local businesses to meet working capital requirements, aiding them with running costs such as employees' wages and salaries, bills, pending invoices, acquisition of stock, maintenance costs and expenses that are critical for the smooth running of the business. 

  • SMEs can take up to a maximum loan amount of €4 million, while Large Enterprises can apply for up to €8 million, always subject to bank's approval. Repayment terms can range between 18 and 72 months, with an inclusive moratorium period of six months that can be extended to 12 months depending on circumstances of the business.

  • The Maltese government has allocated a €350 million fund to the Malta Development Bank to set up and manage the MDB Covid-19 Guarantee Scheme, with the purpose of guaranteeing loans granted by commercial banks to businesses. The scheme will run until 31 December 2020.​



​Bank distributes the official information of the government on the virus. 


Bank distributes the official information of the government on the virus​​.



Al Barid Bank

Al Barid Bank makes its financial infrastructure available to the Moroccan government to help with the measures taken in the framework of the Covid-19 crisis. As from 6 April onwards, the bank will pay out the beneficiaries of the financial aid measures. Digital channels are favoured, educational tools are put in place to help customers use these channels​





The Netherlands 

De Volksbank

Clients who have problems with repayment of their home loans can contact the bank for an individual discussion of their problem. Branches are accessible after appointment. The majority of the staff works from home, all physical meetings have been cancelled.





Caja de Ahorros de​ Panamá

​Bank is ready to help all of its clients in these difficult times and broadcasts the official information of the government. Priority is given to digital channels.

Mi PaÍs Financiera​

​Bank is ready to help its clients in these difficult times​.



Federación Peruana de Cajas Municipales de Ahorro y Crédito (FEPCMAC)

​The 19 savings banks of the federation help their clients by not imposing fees or penalties for late payments and will not apply negative credit ratings for people and businesses who pay late. They will supply liquidity for the most basic necessities to clients and this for a period of three or six months.




Slovenska Sporitelna AS

​Due to the coronavirus, the number of fake e-shops offering face masks is rising. The bank placed an advice on how to not lose money.

Prolongation of credit lines and postponement of instalments. “Companies and entrepreneurs who have to date been fulfilling their liabilities toward the bank in a due and timely manner, and whose operational financing in the form of an overdraft is to expire in the coming three months, will be able to simply prolong their credit lines for a further half year. There will be no need to sign addenda to agreements; the bank will simply perform this change on the basis of their request. The level of credit lines will remain unchanged, so firms will also be able to use any undrawn funds."

On new loans, Slovenská sporiteľňa is prepared to assist its business clients in need of new funds for bridging over the coronavirus impacts. In this case the request should be sent together with a clarification of the pandemic's impact on the company's business and justification for the use of new funds to stabilise or improve the company's situation.

Businesses with good history of cooperation with the bank will be able to obtain an amendment to the repayment schedule for loans, for instance by postponing the maturity of the principal or interest by half a year. Where necessary, Slovenská sporiteľňa can help a client also by, for example, postponing the deadline for meeting non-monetary terms and conditions, which must be satisfied after drawing a loan. This may concern various documentary information obligations or other conditions.

Personal contact only when absolutely necessary.





  • Moratorium approved for mortgage and personal loans, over the principal, for an extension of 12 and 6 months, respectively.

  • Moratorium approved for payments over renting contracts with individuals.

  • Payment of pensions in advance

  • Halt return of water and electricity bills

  • Unemployment benefits paid in advance.

  • Condone rent bills of the bank's estate property

  • Halt commission charge for ATM services.

Access to banking services and Client Protection:

  • Office network operating at 90% of its full capacity in almost every district.

  • Special service plan for the elderly (over 75 years old)

  • Operational reinforcement to guarantee 100% performance of all ATMs across the whole network

  • Promote and endorse digital service and channels

  • Awareness campaign to prevent customers from leaving home and provide online courses to educate on digital banking transactions and cybersecurity.

  • Increase debit card contactless payment thresholds to ease payment process

  • Provide special service to assess the young and elderly to better access ATM services to withdraw cash

  • Additional digital and online banking means to provide dynamic communication amongst clients and office network.

Self-Employed and SMEs:

  • Full range of pre-approved loans for the self-employed and SME's

  • Substantial increase on financing for Large Corporates, through generic back-up or specific lines for sectors

  • Upfront payment of pending amounts for farmers within the PAC regime

  • Moratorium over renting contract payments for corporate clients

  • Special scheme for businesses: specific finance scheme and fees elimination for transactions through POS

  • Build digital platforms for self-employed and small businesses to enable online business through social media

  • Reinforcement of e-commerce platforms and “App" development for self-employed and small businesses to provide financial transactions over the phone.

​Measures regarding the insurance sector:

  • Inclusion of free coverage within the insurance policy scheme for temporary disability due to Covid-19 and Pneumonia

  • As for collective insurance policy scheme, pandemic shall be covered in case of death.

  • In medical insurance and payment protection insurance policy schemes, pandemic shall not be excluded, as well as flexible measures and fee reduction


CECA - Confederation of Spanish Savings Banks

Aware of the important role that the financial system is called to play in this crisis, CECA sector entities have deployed a wide range of measures to meet the needs of families and companies, especially those most affected by the pandemic:

  • Granting moratoriums on the payment of quotas for mortgage and non-mortgage loans for a period of three months, in accordance with the emergency measures adopted by the Government.

  • Given that a wide sector of clients cannot benefit from these legal measures (for not strictly complying with the criteria of “vulnerability" established in the Royal Decree-law), entities are extending them to broader groups, in the form of moratoriums, shortages, renegotiations, etc. The CECA Board of Directors formally adopted at its April session an agreement under which the signatory entities undertake to apply extended moratoriums (up to 12 months in the case of mortgage products and 6 months in consumer finance - loans or credits with mortgage guarantee and personal loans) to extended groups.

  • Endorsements of the ICO (Official Spanish Credit Institute) program, endowed with €100 billion, are being channelled through our entities to preserve the liquidity of companies in a context of drastic drop in activity.

  • Commissions for the use of ATMs have been eliminated throughout the country's network, so that in case of requiring cash, customers can go to the nearest terminal without having to worry about the commissions that will be charged.

  • Unemployment benefit payments have been anticipated, so that families who have seen their incomes reduced because they have lost their jobs can have income to meet their current payments.

  • Rent has been deferred and even forgiven within the Social Housing Fund program.

  • CECA members want to promote the use of digital programs and social networks in the dissemination of financial culture, with themes such as: cybersecurity and online fraud, consumer protection in the digital environment or use of online banking, among others, dedicating this training to groups mainly of the elderly, vulnerable and entrepreneurs.​



Swedish Savings Banks Association

Members of the Swedish Savings Banks Association participate in the lending to business customers, a programme that works with state guarantee. They have also submitted proposals to the government for measures for small business. Members have also paiçd for lunches for schoolchildren who do not get school food. They can pick the lunch up at a local restaurant and the bank pays the bill. In that way the saving banks also help the local restaurant. Finally, the Swedisch Savings Banks Association has contributed money for the purchase of hand sanitiser.





TPB Bank 

As a bank that plays a pro-active role in the socio-economic transformation of Tanzania, TPB has instituted the following measures to keep both the public and staff safe:

  • No staff is allowed to travel outside of Tanzania, no public meetings / conferences are held or attended by any staff from TPB. 

  • Advice on how to manage Covid-19 has been shared with the entire staff. The Bank has extended awareness and preventive measures to the customers visiting the branches for services. Education on Covid-19 prevention and updates are continuously shared. 

  • Hand washing facilities have been placed at the entrance of all the outlets. Sanitizers are at the entrance of each floor at TPB’s Head Office as well as in ATM lobbies to allow customers and staff to sanitize their hands.

  • Social distancing is enforced in branches where customers keep a distance of  1 meter from each other.

  • Customers are encouraged to use TPB’s mobile banking solution TPB Popote that is integrated with all mobile money operators in Tanzania.

  • Biometric finger/thumb entry has been altered to be card-based so staff reduce surfaces they touch. 

  • Staff at Head Office have begun work rotation from home to reduce staff contact and ensure business continuit

  • The bank is now-rolling out video-conferencing as a way of promoting work from home.

  • For staff having to use the bank cars, these are equipped with sanitizers.

  • Through the Tanzania Banker’s Association TPB engages with the wider banking industry on best practice and industry impacts.

 ​TPB will continue to provide financial solutions to its valued customers in a manner that does not pose a threat to their well-being or that of their staff. The bank will constantly look to see how it can better improve its operations in this very challenging environment. ​


Government Savings Bank (GSB)​

Freelance self-employed people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic can avail of ultra-low interest loans offered by Government Savings Bank by applying through the bank's website. Anyone aged 20 and up could be eligible for an emergency clean loan with interest rate at just 0.10 per cent a month and a grace period of six months.

The GSB also launches another loan package on April 1 for those who have lost their regular monthly income because of the outbreak. Each person can borrow up to Bt50,000 with interest rate at 0.35 per cent a month and a three-year debt repayment period. Borrowers could use either an asset as collateral or an individual guarantor. 




Xalq Bank

​​Home delivery of pensions in sterile packages in compliance with sanitary standards.