Stanbic reacts to Covid-19
STANBIC Bank (Stanbic) has temporary closed its Victoria Falls and Hwange branches as part of preventive measures against the spread of the Covid-19 global pandemic.
This comes as the financial institution last week also temporarily shut down its Incubator Hub to support social distancing, which comes as a recommended preventative measure by the World Health Organisation.
“One of the biggest lessons we have learnt form the outbreak is that people need to be proactive rather than reactive,” Palmer Mugavha, Stanbic’s head of marketing and corporate affairs, said.
“Some countries have been hit hard because they took time to act so we saw it fit to support our country in the preventive strategies being taken following the President’s national disaster declaration.”
Zimbabwe’s first case of Covid-19, commonly referred to as coronavirus, was reported in the resort town of Victoria Falls the previous week and two more cases have since been reported.
Mugavha said it was crucial for the bank to put the well-being of its employees, clients and the general public at the fore in the face of the lethal virus.
“We have to put human life ahead of any potential to earn profit hence the decision to close the Victoria Falls and Hwange branches,” he said.
“We understand the impact our decision has on our customers and sincerely regret the inconvenience. However, we request that they bear with us and continue to use digital banking platforms to minimise physical human interaction as we fight to curb the spread of this deadly virus,” he added.
The financial institution has made it mandatory for every customer who visits its branches or offices to sanitise their hands upon entering and exiting the premises using the sanitising sprays and wipes which have been widely been made available in banking halls and offices.
“We can never be too careful, we urge all customers to cooperate with us as we fight this pandemic together,” Mugavha said.
He added that the move by the bank is also in line with its parent company, Standard Bank Group’s rigorous resolve to combat the global pandemic.
Meanwhile, Standard Bank, the parent company of Stanbic Zimbabwe, said it is implementing its rigorous business continuity processes and practices which are well rehearsed and planned on a regular basis.
The group said all its plans are designed to ensure effective business continuity, the integrity of its systems and processes and the safety and wellbeing of its staff and customers. Part of this plan would be to ensure the ability of employees to fulfil their duties at other locations where the group operates or from home depending on business and personal requirements.
“Standard Bank has also issued a wide-ranging travel ban. In order to reduce risk to its staff and communities, we have taken the decision to suspend all cross-border travel on Standard Bank Group business until further notice. Only very limited exceptions to this rule will be permitted,” the company said in a statement.
“This has been a difficult decision, and we are aware of the impact it will have. However, we are confident that this is the right decision in light of this global health threat.”
Standard Bank adopted the principles recommended by the World Health Organisation and advised staff and contractors who return from high risk destinations to adopt the 14-day self-isolation principle. The high-risk destination lists are reviewed daily to remain relevant.
In the course of business, Standard Bank adopts a strict policy as it relates to the cleanliness of its branches and public spaces. Where appropriate, Standard Bank reviewed systems and processes to align to World Health Organisation and Health and Child care ministry guidelines to minimise the risk of potential infection.
The statement said the group’s employees are being provided with the necessary tools and information to minimise risk and provide its customers with the assurance that it is applying the necessary precautionary measures to deal with the potential risk.