11 November 2019
Australians facing financial difficulties as a result of fires raging across New South Wales and Queensland are being encouraged to contact their bank for assistance when they are able to do so.
CEO of the Australian Banking Association Anna Bligh said that banks have hardship teams ready to assist customers affected by the fires.
“While the immediate concern for all is the safety of communities in bushfire areas, banks stand ready to help customers where needed across NSW and Queensland,” Ms Bligh said.
“Any customer who has been impacted by these fires should contact their bank when they are able to do so to access a wide range of help, including deferring loan payments, waiving fees and consolidating debts,” she said.
ABA member banks offer a range of services to help customers affected by bushfires and other natural disasters such as drought, floods or other circumstances outside their control. These can include:
- A deferral of scheduled loan repayments
- Waiving fees and charges, including break costs on early redemption of Farm Management Deposits
- Debt consolidation to help make repayments more manageable
- Restructuring existing loans free of the usual establishment fees
- Deferring interest payments on a case-by-case basis
- Offering additional finance to help cover cash flow shortages
- Deferring upcoming credit card payments
- Increasing emergency credit card limits.
Small businesses affected by these bushfires are also encouraged to contact their bank to access various forms of assistance to help them through the recovery.
For more information, or to find the number for your bank’s hardship team go to www.ausbanking.org.au/doingittough.
“…banks can go back to their normal processes and that is working out what’s right for every single customer, on an individual tailored basis with a proper assessment. That is the best thing for the customer.”
Access to credit opens up opportunities and fulfills aspirations. Getting it right requires the right balance between consumer protections and the flow of credit.
Interviewed by AM’s Peter Ryan, ABA CEO Anna Bligh talked about the substantial drop in loan deferrals since their peak during the pandemic, falling from 900,000 to 300,000.