SAMA pledges financial support for those hit by coronavirus crisis

Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih speaks at the Financial Sector Conference held in Riyadh on April 24, 2019. The event is organized by the government bodies overseening the implementation of the Financial Sector Development Program, which are the ministry of finance, the kingdom’s Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) and the Capital Market Authority (CMA). / AFP / FAYEZ NURELDINE

RIYADH (RAHNUMA) The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) has pledged to support people living in the Kingdom who lose their jobs as a result of the ongoing coronavirus crisis – offering financial support for any charges incurred as a result.

“The measures taken include supervisory measures and their preventive policies to tackle the impact of coronavirus. This aims to support the banks during these difficult times and help them focus on providing their customers with the best banking services to meet their financial needs,” the Authority clarified.

The statement added that it was important for banks to commit to supporting their customers, so that they can withstand the impact of the virus, as well as support the private sector as its cash flow falls.

These means include supporting and financing the private sector through preventive measures that benefit the customer, the bank and the economy, the statement added.

The SAMA said this would be achieved by adjusting or restructuring existing funds without incurring any additional expenses or fees on banks.

The aim is to also sustain their activities and adopt and implement the plans of their private sector customers to preserve the employment rates of the affected enterprises.

Rates will be preserved by providing the enterprises’ financing needs, supporting the individual customers that have lost their jobs in the private sector and exempting all customers, for at least six months, from e-transaction fees, minimum balance fees and from any fees imposed on refinancing operations or on terminating existing agreements.

The reassessment of interest rates and other fees on credit cards for current and new customers will be reviewed in line with the current decrease of interest rates due to the economic situation. The fees on foreign money exchange will be refunded to customers wishing to cancel their transactions. Those who cancel travel-related bookings made on credit cards, Mada debit cards or prepaid cards will also be refunded.

“SAMA is following up on the development of the coronavirus-related impact on various economic sectors including the banking and financial sector. It will provide the required assistance to maintain the safety and stability of the financial sector and enable it to support and finance the activities of other economic sectors,” the Authority stressed, highlighting the importance of banks following up on all the development and challenges and the extent of their impact on the available capital, liquidity and other financial safety indicators.

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