Presenting bleak first-half results this week, Standard Bank Group CEO Sim Tshabalala offered insights on the debt relief customers have sought from the bank - and on why there has been limited appetite for the R200bn government-backed loan guarantee scheme intended to help small and medium companies weather the Covid crisis.

Tshabalala said the guarantee scheme came after SA's banks had already taken the initiative to provide their customers with extensive debt relief. The low take-up was also an issue of supply and demand: "You can't force it; there hasn't been as much demand for the loans as people assumed there would be . a large percentage of small businesses and commercial and corporate clients are still very nervous about the economy and they are sitting on deposits."

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