31 January 2024
Banks have dedicated hardship teams on standby to help those impacted by Tropical Cyclone Kirrily and the Australian Banking Association has urged those in need of financial assistance to reach out.
“With the second major cyclone in as many months followed by torrential rain, people in Queensland have been dealt yet another serious blow. I encourage anyone in need of financial assistance to reach out to their bank,” ABA CEO Anna Bligh said today.
“Banks have dedicated, highly experienced hardship teams on standby. They have a range of very practical tools in their tool kits to support people through tough times such as these,” Ms Bligh said.
Depending on individual circumstances, banks can assist by:
- deferring upcoming credit card payments
- deferring scheduled loan repayments
- providing emergency credit limit increases
- restructuring existing loans
- offering additional finance to help cover cash flow shortages
“There may be some impacts to banking services in the affected areas including possible temporary branch closures and the best way to stay up to date is to check your bank’s website and social media channels,” said Ms Bligh.
“The fastest way to get in touch with your bank is to visit the ABA website and locate the emergency contact team numbers.”
The ABA has also warned flood victims to be alert for scammers, who often target victims of natural disasters.
“Scammers have been known to take advantage of people impacted by natural disasters – making a difficult situation even worse,” Ms Bligh said.
“Remember, banks will never call and ask people to transfer funds to another account over the phone, and customers should never provide banking information or passwords over the phone. Avoid clicking on suspicious emails, links or texts, don’t give money or personal information to anyone if unsure – and immediately report any suspicious activity to your bank.”
Ms Bligh also warned people to look out for fake fundraising sites.
“Unfortunately, unscrupulous criminals will exploit the generosity of people trying to help those impacted by a natural disaster,” said Ms Bligh.
People can make sure their donation is going to a legitimate charity by phoning them directly or making a donation direct to their website. Credentials can be verified on the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) website.
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