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Banking blog series | 2) Support measures: from promise to proof

In this blog, we want to provide practical tips about ways in which banks can successfully fulfil their societal role during this corona crisis. 

Entrepreneurs are in acute need As expected, the demand from SMEs for support measures offered by the government and payment holidays offered by banks is high. At the end of March, about 40.000 self-employed and thousands of entrepreneurs (bars, restaurants and retail) applied for these measures. This massive amount of applications will probably increase further due to the extension of the corona measures until April 28. Current estimates are that up to 85% of all SMEs need support by its bank.  This requires fast handling. Only then, entrepreneurs in need – due to their direct loss of income – can continue to fulfil their obligations, such as paying their rent.

We see different approaches in the way banks offer these payment holidays to their clients. As ABN AMRO chooses for opt-out, ING and Rabobank offer their clients opt-in arrangements. This means that ABN AMRO automatically includes all clients, unless they state that they do not want to make use of this arrangement. On the contrary, clients of ING and Rabobank need to apply for these payment holidays themselves when they want to participate. Each approach impacts the client and organisation differently. 

This acute need of measures makes it necessary for banks to design their operational processes in such a way they can start processing these tens of thousands of applications. Furthermore, this requires close cooperation with other parties, like the government and RVO. In short: a massive operation!

3 tips to fulfil your promise Our experience has taught us that it’s important to already think two or three steps ahead, while taking these direct support measures that are needed during this corona crisis. This is, among others, demonstrated during the current contribution of IG&H to the National Coordination Centre for Patient Evacuation (read more here). 

In this article we will focus on 3 practical tips: 1) people first, 2) fact-based decision making, 3) forward looking

1) People first People’s vitality really is the most important condition to keep the bank up and running and to engage non-stop with clients in acute need. Especially for them, the support of banks is of the utmost importance! We see that clients in Retail, Leisure and Transport sectors are in most desperate need of this support. These clients will remember the way the bank stands with them during this crisis, for a long time. The enormous amount of applications requires a short-term disciplined approach using a ‘command and control’ style to accelerate.

2) Fact-based decision making In order to process the massive amount of applications in a short period of time, banks need to act fast. Using resources efficiently demands an approach based on data and facts instead of gut feeling. Creating a smart, data-driven assessment process helps to analyze customer needs and assess liquidity forecasts. This makes it possible to estimate risks and prioritize them, which speeds up the process. Also, clients classified as ‘high risks’ for payment difficulties, can be contacted pro-actively. Moreover, data can help to detect fraud in the enormous pile of applications, even though you surely assume your clients act in accordance with their best intention during this crisis. 

3) Forward looking During times of crisis, immediate action as well as forward looking to future-proof solutions is required. Banks can play an important role in supporting their clients to establish a sustainable business model that can withstand these kinds of shocks. Banks can realize this by assisting clients with smart solutions, for example a stress test app, which provides clients with real-time insights in their liquidity position and financial resilience. This way, banks can build sustainable business models and a sustainable relationship with its client. An impactful promise fulfilled!

If you want to know more about these practical tips, we are willing to think along with you!

In our next blog we will discuss how to shift from crisis management to forward looking for when this crisis ends. 

Joppe Smit Director at IG&H E:

T: +31620352438

Authors: Bas de Jong (;

Laura Hendriks (;

Juliette Vernooij ( ; Annelies Stemfoort (


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