As South Africans continue to face challenges in dealing with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we are taking steps to provide some financial relief to some of our business and personal customers in the form of debt relief. We also encourage customers to consider digital banking as a preferred option to visiting a physical branch.
Debt relief for Small Enterprises and students
For our Small Enterprise customers (those with a turnover of less than R20 million) whose payments are up to date as at 31 March 2020, have been approved a 3 months payment holiday from 1 April to 30 June 2020 on their Business Loans. Repayment will be structured to capitalise on interest & fees. This is a an automatic adjustment later but there is an opt-out option. Click here for more information.
For our students we have also approved a payment holiday from 1 April to 30 June for our student loan customers who are studying full time. This will be at 0% interest and with zero fees. This is an automatic offer and no applications are required. Click here for more information.
Keeping everyone safe
The safety of our employees and customers is something that we care deeply about and we strongly encourage customers to use our suite of digital banking tools for their financial needs, whether this be from a personal or business perspective. Digital platforms provide an efficient, fast, safe and nearly instantaneous solution to many, if not all of your daily banking requirements, away from public spaces.
We encourage customers to manage account limits, make payments to local or international beneficiaries, settle traffic fines, download and send statements or apply for a personal loan from almost anywhere and at any time.
Some of the other digital features available to our clients include the options to:
Buy, send, store or spend foreign currency via the award-winning Shyft Forex App. The app’s features have been enhanced so that it is easier to track currency performance and movements.
Send money quickly and safely via Instant Money to 6 000 locations around the country and to anyone with a cellphone number.
Stay connected by accessing prepaid airtime, data and electricity via Standard Bank Internet Banking.
Increase contributions to an emergency fund, linked to an individual’s profile on the Standard Bank Mobile App.
Our digital products offer ease and convenience, no matter where the person is located, and replace the need to visit a physical branch. During times like these, digital, contact free banking will help clients to carry on with their personal and business lives without disruption. Meanwhile, business owners do not have to leave their operations to tend to the financial aspect of their business such as purchasing electricity, paying staff, taking out a loan or managing limits on credit cards.
Some of the digital features available to our business clients allow for business owners to:
Keep their business moving by accessing liquidity or working capital solutions. Small and Medium Enterprise clients can apply for and receive a business overdraft of up to R6 million within three minutes by applying online here.
Ensure the lights stay on and the water keeps running at their operations by accessing prepaid services from municipalities such as electricity (of up to R3 000) online here.
Set up an online arm of their enterprise, where clients can purchase stock through our SimplyBlu e-commerce set-up solution. Access business-focused savings accounts that help to grow cash and work towards securing the future stability of the business.
Our representatives at the call centre will always be available to assist customers should they require advice or have specific questions related to their financial needs. This will likely see a higher volume of calls at call centres, and we are preparing internal systems for this eventuality. We continue toclosely monitor developments on Covid-19 both locally and abroad to ensure precautionary health measures are in place for our employees, clients and all our stakeholders while ensuring business continuity remains uninterrupted.
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Tax free savings options were introduced in 2015 and provided taxpayers with a unique vehicle to save and grow tax free earnings. As the tax year draws to a close now is the time to consider whether you have made the maximum allowable contribution to your tax-free investment. Those who don’t yet hold a tax-free investment, but are sitting on additional money to save, can open one now and earn tax-free returns for the duration of your investment.
Know your limits Tax Free savings vehicles were launched in a bid to encourage South Africans to save more. Tax Free accounts allow for individuals to contribute up to a certain limit, in this case R36 000, and earn returns on the money invested, as the name suggests, tax free. Any contribution made to the Tax Free Investment (FTI) is exempt from tax on interest, dividends and capital gains. It is important to note however that there are limits on how much one can contribute per year and throughout their lifetime. Limits that have been set by government on Tax Free Savings accounts which currently sit at R36 000 per annum (up from R33 000 pa in 2019) with a R500 000 lifetime limit. The increased amount will be applicable for contributions made from 1 March 2020 – 28 Feb 2021. It is hoped that over time, the limits will be adjusted to support those who are looking to invest for the long term. For now, investors should resist the temptation to contribute more than the limits allow for. If you do exceed the contribution cap of R36 000 per annum, you will be penalised at 40% on your contributions over the allowed annual maximum. Beware the withdrawal
While the TFI structure allows for you to withdraw from your investment at any time, to truly reap the rewards of the offering means staying invested for the long term. The idea is that the investment vehicle is used to invest for the long term to allow for the magic of compounding to take place. The benefits of TFIs are best realised when keeping the investment out of sight and mind over a period of at least three years. When combining the impact of compounding over the long term coupled with the tax-efficiency of this product, it pays to invest for the long-haul. Investors are, however, entitled to a transfer of their tax-free savings from one provider to another. This change came about in 2018 so that an investor is able to switch between providers should they not be happy with their returns or the platform used, for example, without impacting their annual and lifetime contribution limits. Significant benefits Some ways to use your TFI could be to subsidise your retirement savings in a tax-efficient manner or to save for your child’s education. If you have contributed more than the deductable limits to your Retirement Annuity, for example, you can invest the extra funds into a TFI to avoid being taxed on the additional contributions to your RA. If you are using a TFI to save for your child’s education, and it is in their name, it is advisable to remain cognisant of exhausting their R500 000 lifetime limit by the time they come of age. While some may view this as a flaw in the system, it allows for your next of kin to invest a lump sum amount into another investment vehicle. Keep in mind over-contributions Over-contributing can lead to exceeding your annual contributions, which can lead to a penalty tax of 40%. For example, if in one tax year, a consumer invests R10 000 in an account with one provider and R30 000 in an account with another provider, he will have contributed R10 000 more than the annual limit. He will then be required to pay 40% tax on the excess R10 000 he has invested. Where do I start? The end of the tax year is the perfect time to re-visit your investment plan. It allows you the opportunity to ensure that you maximise on the benefits afforded by the tax deductions. At Standarad Bank’s asset management firm Melville Douglas, you can start your monthly contribution from as little as R500 per month or you can invest a lump sum of R10 000. Melville Douglas exists within the Standard Bank Group and manages investments across a wide range of mandates. Standard Bank also offers a tax-free savings account where you can start saving from R250, allowing you to get all the money you have invested returned to you without incurring any tax deductions when withdrawing, leaving you to enjoy every cent you have saved up the way you deserve.
If you need any assistance or financial advice, it would be advisable to reach out to your professional financial adviser who can help you make the most appropriate investment decision.
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If Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announces significant changes to individual taxes during his Budget speech on February 26 it could have wide-ranging implications for South Africa’s heavily burdened tax base. There are numerous actions which the Minister could take to bolster the state’s coffers, including a possible VAT increase, an increase in Personal Income Tax as well as Capital Gains Tax. Of course, tax increases, while driven by fiscal policy, have weighty economic implications, which I am sure the Minister and his team have considered extensively.
For investors, any increases or changes could have an impact on estate and financial planning moving forward. Here is how any one of these increases could impact you.
Value Added Tax:
In 2018 the tax charged on goods and services was increased from 14% to 15%. It’s uncertain whether another increase would be implemented but if it is it would mean an almost immediate increase in the cost of living which will impact any household’s financial plan. The point of departure for any financial plan is to determine the living standard of a person and his or her family. The living standard of a household drives a well-prepared budget for the family. Since VAT is a consumption tax, it will have a direct impact on the budgeting discipline of a household. One should re-visit your priorities, re-arrange, and start making tough decisions between what is necessary to have, and what is nice to have.
Personal Income Tax
I am sure the Minister will have looked at ways to adjust personal income brackets and even weighed up an increase on personal tax across the board. Currently the continuum of income tax ranges from 18% at the lower end to 45% and R532 041 of taxable income at the upper end. It’s difficult to see how government could justify a wholesale income tax increase but it is not impossible to see a rate hike to 46%, or perhaps a once off levy for persons in the top tax bracket. The marginal rate was much higher in earlier years. What is more a given, is that the necessary inflationary adjustments will not be made in the income tax brackets. It may also be far too optimistic to hope for an increase in the medical credits, and to a lesser extent age credits. To neutralise the effect of personal tax increases one must maximise on tax deductions, for instance contributions to retirement funds. These contributions will drastically reduce the effective rate of tax payable. Currently the taxpayer enjoys generous tax relief for contributions to a retirement fund, and since retirement is a definite goal in our journey through life, the full amount invested in a tax-free growth portfolio, will be of personal benefit one day. It is unlikely that the maximum tax-deductible amount will be increased, given the favourable tax relief we currently enjoy.
Capital Gains Tax
This is probably the one area where there is room for significant change. Government is under pressure from certain quarters to increase tax on the wealthy and taxing the gains made on the sale of assets could be where they make up some ground. It has been four years since we saw a significant increase in the capital gains inclusion rate. Initially the inclusion rate was 25%, and gradually increased to 40%. It is ironic that the original rate in 2001 was to allow for relief in inflationary growth of capital assets. Increasing the current 40% inclusion rate will pay lip service to the original intent and will be a serious factor to consider. Should the effective rate for capital gains be increased the popularity of tax-free investments, where no capital gains are paid upon maturity, will become much more attractive for the long term. The role of the financial planner and a suitable long-term investment strategy, aligned with a future lifestyle goal, will become important for the investor.
The idea of a Wealth Tax has been bandied since 2018 following the conclusion of the Davis Tax Committee. To date very few recommendations were incorporated, save for the curbing of the use of trust for estate duty saving purposes and an increase in the estate duty rate. However, the collections from estate duty was meagre. It will be interesting to see if some of the other recommendations will be considered, for example the estate duty relief for spousal bequest. Spousal bequests currently escape estate duty. Whatever the Minister announces on Wednesday South Africans will be impacted in some shape or form. There are immense pressures on his Department to cut costs and demonstrate responsible fiscal spending. This, however, must be weighed against the growing need for income to aid government in meeting its infrastructure, health, education and social welfare responsibilities. Investors, in fact all South Africans, would do well to tune in to the Minister’s speech to gauge the likely impact on themselves and their finances.
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Hello eric blondeau,
IBAN numbers are required when sending money to beneficiaries abroad, in this case the IBAN number will be provided directly by the beneficiary, however, when receiving money a Swift code will then have to be provided together with your banking details. The Standard bank swift code is SBZAZAJJ. If a beneficiary is not certain on the IBAN number, he/she can contact their branch to obtain this information. Please visit: http://www.standardbank.co.za/standardbank/Personal/Banking/Foreign-Exchange/Payments-and-transfers/... for more information.
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I apologise for the inconvenience experienced, please escalate your query to : 0860 466 639 or [email protected] The Instant Money consultants will be able to asist you.
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As the much-anticipated rainy season approaches, there is no worse stressor than that of not having the right cover for your home. Understanding the terms and conditions that come with your cover will ensure that you are not left standing in rain, saving you thousands of Rands in excess.
According to Stephen Raseobi, Head of SIL Claims at Standard Bank Group, homeowners can spare themselves the burden of battling it out with the insurance companies and mitigate claim rejections due to weather damage on their homes by familiarising themselves with claims processes.
Homeowners should regularly check their homes for any possible gradual operating causes such as puddling of water on flat roofs, which could give rise to a claim but has been happening over an extended period; this could affect the claim negatively for the insured.
“For every improvement done to your property to increase the value of risk, it is mandatory that the insurer is notified. This could prevent any possible angst related to complaints on the part of the client and this would help them to effect necessary maintenance before the stormy or rainy seasons come”, says Raseobi.
Standard Bank’s HOC product is an all-inclusive policy which covers a range of perils including storm – this comes in a package – one cannot elect to omit part of cover such as storm because the area is not prone to weather elements.
About Standard Bank Insurance
Standard Bank Insurance Brokers (Pty) Ltd (“SBIB”) is an authorised financial services provider FSP 224. SBIB is a Group company of The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited (Reg. No. 1962/000738/06), an authorised financial services and registered credit provider (NCRCP15).
Frank Financial Services is a juristic representative of the Standard Bank of SA, an authorised FSP. Products are underwritten by Liberty Group Limited.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions (information) expressed in this article are for information purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited and/or any of its subsidiaries and holding companies and their subsidiaries and holding companies (Standard Bank Group). The Information provided in this article does not constitute advice and is not to be relied upon as independent professional advice of any kind. The Standard Bank Group makes no warranties or representations (implied or otherwise) as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for purpose of the Information provided in this article or that it is free from errors or omissions. The Standard Bank Group and its employees, agents and representatives accept no liability for any loss, damage or claim arising from the use of any Information presented in this article.
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‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’ are the American shopping phenomena which have taken South Africa by storm. These massive shopping days saw South Africans spend over R2.8 million in 2018 alone, according to Bank Serve. Although Black Friday is the most popular of two days, Cyber Monday presents an opportunity for small businesses who can’t necessarily compete with the big retailers for foot traffic.
One of the biggest reasons small enterprises fail to make a mark on ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’ is their lack of digital offerings for customers. Online payments represent less than 10% of all card purchase transactions on these days.
This growth in the use of digital channels is not unique to South Africa as consumers look for opportunities to access the deals at a convenient time and location to avoid aggressive behaviour synonymous with ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’.
According to Nelisa Zulu, Standard Bank, Head Merchant Solutions South Africa, in order to capatalise on the growth of popularity of these annual shopping events and the growth of digital adoption, small enterprises must consider the following tips:
Stand out and become more visible
One of the comforts consumers enjoy about ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’ is the convenience of shopping from home at the click of a button. Most consumers attach Black Friday to in-store sales only, but retailers offer onmi-channel promotions. Consumers who are looking for convenience or do not have the opportunity to escape work on a Friday would take advantage of online sales. This There are many available providers who can build websites for businesses. Standard Bank’s SimplyBlu is an example of such. This new all-in-one e-commerce solution that enables you to start and manage online business from a single, secure platform, thus tapping into the growing online shopping market.
Embracing the power of mobile
A lot of consumers have embraced the idea of transacting on their mobile phones, what is also significant is the year on year growth of 55%, which demonstrates the digital payment adoption by South African consumers. It is important for small enterprises to be more relevant and play in a space where the clients spend most of their time.
Giving customers incentives
‘Cyber Monday’ also offers an opportunity for a business to launch its online shopping platform. It is the perfect time to drive traffic to your platform by offering significant discounts when customers shop online as opposed to physically coming to the store. Stats SA retail figures for December 2018 showed an annual decline of 1.4% instead of the expected 2.1% growth on visits to brick and mortar retail stores. This is proof that the lure of physical stores is slowly getting lost on consumers. Evidently, consumers are both cash and time-strapped and giving them a choice on where and how to engage in mutually beneficial to both retailers and consumers.
Extend the offer
Traditionally, ‘Cyber Monday’ deals cut off at midnight. The great thing about technology is that you have the power to rewrite the rules. By extending your deals beyond the 00:00 cut-off, you get an edge of competitors by offering your customers more value for longer. Just like how we have seen an extension of the promotional period for ‘Black Friday’, it may be worthwhile to consider the extension of the shopping period for ‘Cyber Monday’.
Take advantage of specials for their own business
While focusing on making sales, small businesses should also be aware of sales taking place that they themselves can take advantage of. Things like office supplies, furniture and other assets like laptops are often on special during ‘Cyber Monday’. So, while directing sales, business owners can also do their own shopping from the comfort of their own space.
Small enterprises in South Africa need to understand that ‘Cyber Monday’ is not just made for big players such as Takealot or Amazon. Technology and low-cost solutions such as SimplyBlu have levelled the playing field drastically and with the right ideas, a small business can now also begin to flex their digital muscle and enjoy a part of the shopping revenues.
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Black Friday is but a few days away and consumers are preparing to hit the online shopping strip. As with any increased spending period, consumers are urged to remain vigilant and alert when transacting at a point of sale or online. Just because you are in a festive and carefree mood, does not mean that criminals and fraudsters have taken the day off as well
With technology being at the forefront of everything we do lately, thousands of consumers opt for online shopping to avoid long queues at malls. Online shopping is one of the fastest-growing retail platforms in South Africa. It makes sense, therefore, to update and familiarise oneself with the necessary safety features and measures while shopping. After all, you will not enter your card pin with someone peering over your shoulder while paying in a shopping queue, why expose yourself similarly online.
We urge consumers to remain vigilant of scammers who are looking to steal your money and personal details in the real world and the virtual world.
According to a report by SABRIC, fraud incidents across online and mobile banking apps increased by 75.3% in 2018 alone. Therefore, as you begin hunting through Black Friday as well as Cyber Monday deals this year, keep the following six tips in mind to make sure you don’t fall victim to any cyber trolls:
Avoid shopping on public Wi-Fi networks
Cybercriminals know how to thwart unsecured Wi-Fi to gain access to the information you send over it. So, it’s better you eat into some of your data to make sure your financial information is protected.
Use complex passwords for online retailers
Having strong, secure passwords is essential to keeping your online identity and accounts safe from hackers. Always include a mix of letters, numbers and special characters to makes sure it’s not easy to crack into your online platforms.
Never click on a suspicious link
Scammers might target you with emails that contain promotional links, appearing to be from a legitimate retailer. This is an attempt to get your attention and trick you into clicking on a link which carries malicious malware and stealing your personal information. Avoid clicking any unsecured links.
Be on the lookout
If you forget your bank card somewhere while shopping, rather cancel it immediately rather than go back to look for it. You might find it, but that leaves you with the risk of someone having taken your card details and using them for online fraud.
Ditch unsecured online stores:
There are thousands of online stores, and with this form of shopping becoming so popular, it is easy to fall into the trap of purchasing through an unsecure site. Always look for a padlock on the site’s URL website itself to make sure it is safe.
Black Friday is known to be one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year, and it goes without saying that, just like the festive season, this is a busy time for criminals. Be sure to take extra precautions to protect yourself, your purchases, and your personal information. If something seems suspicious, it probably is, so stay away from it.
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While agriculture across the African continent may not produce the types of yields seen in developed markets, the picture is starting to change somewhat with the arrival of digital applications.
As it stands, traditional small-scale farmers in Africa use techniques that produce the lowest yield per hectare globally. This is despite the continent having 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land.
With the introduction of data and digital technologies to farming practices across Africa, there is an enormous potential to boost output and contribute to meeting the 70% increase in global demand by 2050.
The big opportunity for African agriculture lies in agritech and its ability to deliver information to farmers through data. These innovations empower farmers with the tools to make decisions that improve crop yield while enriching the entire agricultural supply chain.
We believe that modern farming practices are what’s needed to help Africa’s farmers make informed decisions around their crops and future strategies for growing. This has led to the bank’s investment in innovative solutions that leverage technology to provide tools and data to farmers.
Stanbic Bank Zambia , for example, is helping local farmers to track the health of their crops and farm more efficiently with digital satellite application Contour. Available on mobile and desktop, the app uses satellite imaging and analysis to give farmers satellite data, crop growth models, soil analysis mapping, weather data and more.
The app acknowledges that affordability can be a stumbling block for farmers looking to digitize and is available at about US5.50 per hectare.
This agritech innovation also improves the relationship between the farmer and funding partner, as it enables the bank to correctly assess risk – through the monitoring of crop performance – and accurately allocate capital and cover.
With the potential of agriculture to lift people of the African continent out of poverty and into the financial system, we have further committed $3 million towards a smart agriculture initiative aimed at empowering women farmers in Malawi, South Africa, Uganda and Nigeria.
Through the programme, over 15 000 farmer-beneficiaries will be exposed to groundnuts farming technologies. These are commercial entities that have received the opportunity to scale up and plug into the supply chains of larger corporates.
Research shows that women account for nearly half of the world’s smallholder farmers and produce 70% of Africa’s food. This highlights the importance of supporting women farmers to enable their growth and that of the continent.
As the uptake of agritech solutions continues, we continue to innovate to provide digitally enabled solutions to farmers that improve yield and contribute to the growth and development of Africa’s economies.
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Entrepreneurship is a major driver of economic growth, but only when the businesses develop into scalable entities with the potential to expand and contribute to meaningful job creation.
This emphasises the critical importance of efforts to drive initiatives that fast-track small business expansion, by breaking down barriers to entry and providing support services.
While the African continent boasts a thriving entrepreneurship culture, the reality is that many of the entities in operation remain within the confines of the informal environment.
Without access to working capital, market intelligence to tap new regions and value chains, and developmental support, it can be hard for small businesses to grow.
To help alleviate some of these pain points, we have created a suite of digital solutions that are tailored to the suit the unique needs of African-grown SMEs.
Recently we invested $4million in South African fintech Nomanini. The platform connects informal merchants with distributors via an e-wallet, and aims to roll the service out across 14 African countries by early 2021.
Our enterprise online payment platform enables business owners to transact on accounts online with a single login across the Standard Bank/Stanbic banking portfolio across products, countries and currencies. The platform is available in Botswana, Malawi, Lesotho, Ghana, Namibia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
In South Africa, businesses can take advantage of bulk instant money which can be used to pay employees without bank accounts. All they need is a cell phone number, making it a cheaper and more secure option than to pay staff than withdrawing large amounts of cash.
We launched SimplyBlu to make it easier for business to participate in online trade. This offering allows entrepreneurs to set up an e-commerce platform and accept payments through a secure mechanism for a nominal fee.
Meanwhile BizFlex, an industry-first lending solution designed for SMEs, featuring flexible repayments was launched. BizFlex allows businesses to repay as they earn revenue at a cost that is fixed and guaranteed upfront. While existing loan application processes prove onerous, a BizFlex loan is available digitally and is paid out within hours. BizFlex offers SMEs lending that is as flexible as their businesses.
These efforts demonstrate Standard Bank’s ongoing effort to help SMEs in tackling everyday business challenges by providing them with tangible banking solutions to help grow and sustain their businesses.
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An increase in export and import activity across Africa regions will go a long way towards igniting economic growth on the continent. The reality, however, is that the continent’s share of global trade stands at only 3% despite accounting for 11% of the world’s population.
For this to be corrected, we need to remove the common constraints to trade that prevent small- to medium-sized business in Africa from taking advantage of growth-enhancing opportunities on the continent and beyond.
Standard Bank has developed digital solutions that are easy to access, simplify the trade process and reduce high costs associated with trade for SMEs across Africa regions.
For example, an entrepreneur who wants to expand operations into other markets may not possess the knowledge to find trusted suppliers or buyers. This is where Standard Bank’s Trade Club becomes particularly useful.
Available to business clients of Standard Bank at no cost, this innovative digital networking platform connects buyers and sellers from 50 countries around the world. Trade Club gives SMEs and corporate clients a wealth of relevant international trade expertise, tools and services, as well as the opportunity to connect with trusted partners in new markets.
Once a business becomes an exporter or importer of a certain product or service, they need to prepare for transacting using international currencies. This can be difficult in Africa where many countries have strict foreign exchange controls or in China where there is limited acceptance of Visa and Mastercard cards.
In a bid to solve this challenge, Standard Bank launched the Shyft forex app, which allows anyone with a Standard Bank account to buy foreign currency and store forex of up to R1 million in forex per year.
The app takes the pain out of foreign currency exchange, which typically requires having to physically visit a bank branch, by allowing customers to make transfers on the app at any time of the day, seven days a week, from anywhere in the world at a competitive rate.
From a country-specific perspective, in Uganda, we launched a platform in partnership with Traydstream, which has digitized the manual process of vetting letters of trade checks.
Traydstream’s one-stop-shop for processing enables business clients in Uganda to speed up processing time, mitigate risk with thorough trade checks as well as improve the transparency of transactions through an aggregated compliance module.
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