NAIROBI (Reuters) – Standard Chartered Bank Kenya has adjusted the terms of more than 8 billion shillings ($75.4 million) of its loans to individuals and businesses – about 6% of the total – to help them weather the impact of COVID-19, it said on Wednesday.
Lenders in the East African nation have so far restructured 81.7 billion shillings in loans since the central bank allowed them to offer relief to distressed borrowers on March 18, the central bank said last week.
StanChart Kenya’s Chief Executive Kariuki Ngari said some borrowers whose businesses or earnings have been hit by the pandemic were struggling with cash flows, creating the need for them to restructure their loan repayments.
Under a deal unveiled by lenders and the central bank, struggling individuals and firms can take a three-month repayment holiday, lengthen the tenure of their loans, or opt to just pay the interest for a period of time.
The relief also applies to credit card debt and mortgages, said StanChart Kenya, which is controlled by Standard Chartered Plc and is one of the top lenders in the country.
Nearly a third of the restructured loans for the entire banking industry belong to the tourism sector, which has ground to a halt in the wake of the pandemic, the central bank said.
Other sectors which have been affected include building and construction, trade, and manufacturing, as well as small and medium enterprises.
The central bank also gave lenders some flexibility in terms of classifying loans whose borrowers’ ability to repay them on time has been hindered by the pandemic.
($1 = 106.1500 Kenyan shillings)
Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Jan Harvey