woman in city wearing face mask

COVID-19 How we're responding

On this page you’ll find an overview of what we’re doing to ensure the financial security, safety and wellbeing of clients, colleagues and communities. We’ll update this page as and when we have more details, to keep you up to date with how we’re responding.

How we're supporting clients  |  How we're supporting communities  |  How we're supporting colleagues

 Corporates and institutions

  • We’ve announced USD1 billion of not-profit-financing for companies that provide goods and serves to help the fight against COVID-19. This includes manufacturers and distributors in the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare providers, as well as non-medical companies that have volunteered to change their output to assist in the crisis. We’ll provide this financing in several different forms, to help companies tool up and get their products to market. Click here for more details, or here to watch Simon Cooper, our CEO of Corporate, Commercial & Institutional Banking, talk about the details.
    • Our first drawdown under the USD1 billion financing commitment was from Joint Medical Store, a Ugandan NGO. The USD2.2 million loan facility will go towards the provision of healthcare facilities and Personal Protective Equipment to front line workers.
    • Vinda Household Paper (China) Limited has become the first company in Asia to make a drawdown under the Bank’s USD1 billion financing commitment. Vinda’s drawdown for USD23 million on a loan facility will help the company meet the demand for epidemic prevention products in China and other markets. In just one month after the onset of the outbreak, Vinda added facilities in its manufacturing sites in Zhejiang and Guangdong to produce face masks, and currently has an output capacity of up to 7 million pieces per month.
    • Bahrain-based Kavlani & Sons has become the first company in the Middle East to make a drawdown under our USD1 billion financing commitment, and will finance the procurement of personal protective equipment and critical care equipment for hospitals
    • We have extended a loan to Sri-Lanka based MAS Intimates to facilitate the purchase of raw materials for the production of surgical face masks
    • We have extended a loan to Ghanaian beverage manufacturer Kaspareko Company, which will produce hand sanitisers and alcohol hand rubs
    • Vietnamese company Tecomen Joint Stock Company (Tecomen) has become the first company in ASEAN to make a drawdown under our USD1 billion COVID-19 financing commitment. We extended Tecomen a credit limit of VND40 billion (USD1.8 million) as working capital for the production of medical masks
  • In partnership with the Asian Development Bank, we have provided a USD25 million trade loan to the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation of Sri Lanka to purchase essential medical supplies, helping the country fight COVID-19.

Retail clients

  • In various locations across our Retail footprint, we’re offering fee waivers on credit cards, personal loans, mortgages and charges for local fund transfers. We’re also offering additional coverage for life insurance plans in some markets
  • In economies particularly affected by the coronavirus outbreak, we’re offering business owners and entrepreneurs some or all of the measures listed below:
  • Existing clients under our Business Instalment Loan, SME financing Guarantee Scheme and SME Loan Guarantee Scheme can apply for a principal moratorium of up to six months, which is renewable
  • New applicants for our SME Financing Guarantee Scheme can enjoy a 50 per cent subsidy for all tenors on guarantee fee until 30 June 2022
  • Account maintenance fee waiver for start-ups or Business Instalment Loan / SME Financing Guarantee Scheme / SME Loan Guarantee Scheme clients
  • Nil handling fee for new applications to the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme and SME Loan Guarantee Scheme
  • Fee waivers on late payments
  • Fast-tracked applications for the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme and SME Loan Guarantee Scheme
  • For more information on what we're offering to our Retail clients in Singapore, click here
  • From now until 30 June 2020, we’re offering the following measures in certain markets for the business sector:
    • Existing clients with Business Banking Instalment loans can apply for a principal moratorium of up to a maximum of 12 months, or a loan tenor extension to lower monthly obligations
    • Clients can request a waiver of late fees and related charges for a period of up to six months
    • Existing clients with trade facilities experiencing delayed trade payments can request a bill maturity extension for up to 90 days
    • Clients with an existing commercial mortgage can improve their cashflow via an additional loan or overdrafts against their property
  • Additionally, at our branches, we have increased sanitisation, especially of ATMs and touch screens and, in line with local government advice, we are adopting other precautions such as implementing social distancing, temperature checks and providing colleagues with protective equipment such as masks. Our social channels and customer care centres also remain operational should clients need to speak to someone
  • Meanwhile, Solv, a B2B digital marketplace platform started by our innovation arm SC Ventures, has helped thousands of SMEs remain operational, allowing over 10,000 families in need to gain access to essential supplies of food and medicine. Read the full story here

Other client support 

  • We’ve provided advice and stand ready to support UK HM Treasury’s £500 million Future Fund to help protect the UK’s tech and life sciences firms during the pandemic. The package of measures also includes £750 million in grants and loans for UK SMEs engaged in research and development, and we’ll assist to ensure rapid deployment of capital to these sectors. opens in a new windowSee HM Treasury’s website for more information.

We are doing everything we can to help ensure the wellbeing and safety of our colleagues. This includes:

  • Split operations for critical functions
  • Working from home arrangements. Read more on these here
  • Temperature screenings in offices and branches
  • Use of personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves
  • Providing advice on how to stay healthy and avoid infection
  • Increasing the frequency of sanitisation at our branches and office premises
  • Face-to-face meetings are discouraged in high-risk locations, and large gatherings are discouraged in all countries
  • Helping to support our colleagues’ mental wellbeing in these difficult times, including providing learning resources and advice on wellbeing topics such as inclusion and parenting while working from home
  • Providing support to our People Leaders, making sure they have the tools to look after not only their own wellbeing, but that of their teams as well
  • We are supporting our colleagues to work flexibly, understanding there are many competing demands, and listening to colleagues to understand their needs
  • No colleagues have been asked to leave the Bank due to the impact of Covid-19, nor do we intend to make any layoffs because of the pandemic. We have not furloughed any of our 85,000 colleagues across 59 markets, all of whom are working hard to support our clients and customers
  • We have brought in Group-wide travel restrictions, which are updated continuously as we respond to the crisis and follow government and health advice
  • We have a well-established business continuity plan covering pandemic outbreaks and are keeping our colleagues updated about what to expect as the situation develops

USD50m Global Charitable Fund

  • •We want to be there for the communities in which we operate, particularly in these trying times, so we’ve launched a USD50 million Global Charitable Fund to provide immediate emergency relief and support economic recovery in communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Our Group Chief Executive, Bill Winters, and Group Chief Financial Officer, Andy Halford, will make significant personal donations to this fund. The Group Chairman, members of the Board, and the Management Team, will also make personal donations

This is how we are distributing the funds:

  • USD25m of funding for immediate relief:
    • Committed USD5m to the Red Cross* for urgent medical support across 12 markets in Africa (Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe) and Asia (Bangladesh, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka).
    • Committed USD5m to UNICEF for the immediate protection and educational support of vulnerable children across 12 markets in Africa (Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia) and Asia (Bangladesh, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan).
    • Provided USD15m to our four Regions (ASEAN and South Asia, Africa and Middle East, Europe and Americas, and Greater China and North Asia) to disburse to local partners for emergency relief

*The Red Cross is an umbrella term for the British Red Cross and International Committee of the Red Cross

  • USD25m for long-term recovery support to protect employment and educational opportunities, focused on:
    • Training young people to regain employment, including identifying and training new health workers, and re-training young people, who have lost their jobs, for new opportunities
    • Funding for micro and small businesses, including seed funding, training, or the adaptation of existing businesses to focus on new products or service (this funding is all charitable)

Click here for more details on our USD50m global charitable fund.


  • Our Group Chief Executive and Group Chief Financial Officer will voluntarily forego any entitlement to a cash bonus in respect of 2020 performance. Click here to read more about our commitments.