COVID-19: Customer support measures

Joint forces to support customers and the community

Supporting our customers through tough times in Bangladesh

The growth potential of Bangladesh has been one of the most exciting economic stories, partly due to its robust workforce and bourgeoning industry sectors. The country is widely recognised for the role it plays in the textiles and garments supply chain globally with over USD20 billion exports to the European Union alone in 20181. Other industries are developing, but this sector contributes 11% of the country’s GDP and remains critical with four million workers employed2.

Although firms are investing more in Bangladesh’s supply chain, lagging infrastructure and access to power has impeded the pace of industrial development. While the government of Bangladesh has made significant progress to address these issues, the private sector has also played a vital role to accelerate development. For instance, HSBC Bangladesh has focused on providing adequate finance to support the country’s strategic development plan, while sustaining and protecting business growth.

Supporting businesses through COVID-19

In response to COVID-19, the Government of Bangladesh announced a nationwide general lockdown and approved an initial USD8 billion stimulus package, equivalent to 2.5% of GDP.

HSBC also responded quickly. The Bank was one of the first to announce wide-ranging support measures to ease cash flow pressures and help our clients – particularly in the apparel sector – to navigate the market uncertainties and handle the pressure to continue operating factories.

For example, due to delays in exports, the Bank took steps to defer import liability payments as well as instalment payment deferral and, provided one-off short-term loans for overhead expenses including wages and salaries.

Talisman Ltd, a readymade woven garment manufacturer for major European retailers, was one of the clients in a position to tap into HSBC’s support. After the lockdown was announced, the company approached HSBC Bangladesh for the funds to support its thousands of workers. Within 72 hours, the Bank provided cash flow from a designated special relief fund, meeting the urgent needs of the client.

HSBC also supported customers to onboard onto our digital platforms, ensuring trade to continue without conventional paperwork.

Supporting frontline health workers

A number of clients in Bangladesh were keen to put aside their own business priorities in this time of crisis and proactively import PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to distribute to healthcare professionals in the country.

This project was given top priority by HSBC, and we facilitated the import transactions as well as waiving all of the related service charges. The PPE that had been sourced reached the country and was distributed as quickly as possible.

Supporting those at risk

In partnership with the SAJIDA Foundation, HSBC Bangladesh committed to supporting more than 5,000 underprivileged families with ‘Food and Hygiene Packs’. This initiative provides assistance to those most at risk in these difficult times and, the donations made by the staff are being matched by HSBC Bangladesh. Local conglomerate City Group, another partner, is providing essential goods equivalent to HSBC Bangladesh’s contribution.

Ensuring the long-term potential

As a leading international bank in Bangladesh, we are committed to continuing our support for businesses and the wider community through good times and bad. To the best of our capabilities we will continue to seek effective ways to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on our customers and help them to thrive again.

1 Export Promotion Bureau, BGMEA and Bangladesh Bank

2 Export Promotion Bureau, BGMEA and Bangladesh Bank

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