Question: 1. What are three most pressing challenges that your institution is facing at this time?
- First priority challenge is to keep our staff/customers/ service providers safe and WHO preventive measures are in place in the whole organization. However, we are also restricting our customers from coming to our offices and have released media communique on modes of communication and remitting payment and non-essential visits. This being said, bulk of our customers in the farming sector do not have access to electronic means of payment and hence the need to physically make payments at our offices but due to the depressed economy and hardship being faced, the number of customers willing to make repayment will reduce going forward. We have also taken certain measures to ask staff with family members associated with high risk employment such as medical facilities/airports etc. to stay home. We are also assessing the situation on a daily basis with critical staff identified and will abide by Government instructions/policies and on lockdown polices of any area of the country. Our offices in the only lock down area in the country have been requested not to attend to customers.
- Secondly with the down turn in economic activity due effects of the virus to our tourism industry with other related business and export/import market, our customers are now starting to face hardship. We have implemented our disaster polices (interest only payments/repayment holidays/waiver of fees and charges etc.) and may have to implement business continuity financing to assist these clients going forward.
- Thirdly, our challenges will be to access to funds for business continuity going forward. As you are well aware of the nature of development banking, FDB is always depended on borrowed funds for its operation as we have not turned commercial as yet. We have implemented cost cutting measures with suspension of non-essential project/purchases. We have plans in place in regards to reducing staff cost but will be assessing the situation and implementing these measures as required.
Question: 2. What solutions, if any, have you developed/instituted to mitigate the above pressing challenges? If unable to solve them, what needs do you have for us or other members to help you with to remedy the situation?
- As advised above, we have implemented measures for the safety of our staff/customers/service providers, we also have implemented policies for our customers survival and have plans in place for the Bank’s continuity. But all these measures are dependent on the severity of the situation.