COVID-19 Banking Timeline: a detailed financial history of the pandemic.
“The strength of Australia’s banks has allowed the industry to step up and play a key role in helping, not only our customers, but supporting the recovery of the Australian economy, through one of the most challenging periods in our lifetimes”ABA CEO Anna Bligh
Australian banks were in a strong position to act as shock absorbers for customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In concert with regulators and governments, banks acted to support a million Australians by deferring repayments on loans across households and businesses. This was possible due to the strong financial position of the Australian banking sector which enabled banks to focus on customers with the goal of ensuring no customer was left behind when the pandemic hit in early 2020.
99% have now resumed repayments
With the deferral period now over, more than 99% of deferred loans have resumed repayments. Fewer than 5000 homeowners and small businesses remained on deferred loans at the end of the scheme on March 31 2021 and banks are engaging directly with their customers who are still affected by the ongoing pandemic and related border closures. To ensure these customers continue to be supported, banks have increased staff numbers in their hardship teams and released an online step by step guide detailing the options available to customers in financial difficulty.
$280 billion to business during COVID-19
Ensuring the continued flow of credit during the pandemic was also a key focus of Australia’s banks. Lending continued during the pandemic, including $280 billion to businesses across Australia. Access to finance through the Government’s SME Lending Guarantee and an increase in asset finance lending, taking account of the Governments accelerated depreciation policy, has also assisted banks to maintain the flow of credit.
“Bank call centres have been, and continue to be, inundated with people needing help. Many of these people have never had to ask for assistance before in their lives and may never again. I would strongly urge anyone who needs support to contact their bank.”ABA CEO Anna Bligh
Credit reporting was improved dramatically for customers impacted by COVID-19
“The loan deferral measure offered to customers by Australia’s banks has led to the largest ever customer contact process in the industry’s history, with an additional 5000 new or redeployed staff working to ensure customers understand their options.”ABA CEO Anna Bligh
Debit Card Delivery
Prior to COVID-19, there were over half a million Australian bank customers who actively used a passbook account or transaction account with no linked debit card, with many of these being customers over 70 years of age. This means they paid for goods and services using cash or EFTPOS but were unable to shop online or over the phone. The ABA coordinated a debit card rollout with member banks to ensure that customers that were isolating or in quarantine had the option to use them.
“The industry has recognised that as a result of the Government’s social distancing advice, particularly for older Australians, we must provide additional options for people to do their banking and pay for goods and services”ABA CEO Anna Bligh
“I’m very pleased to say that we’ve now seen almost 90 per cent of those people, the 900,000 Australians who deferred their loan repayments, now back making those payments.”ABA CEO Anna Bligh
COVID-19: ABA Updates
“The message from banks is clear: don’t tough it out on your own. Call your bank. They will do whatever they can to help.”
“Over the past year, banks have cushioned the blow for their customers. Through 2021, their priority is helping customers rebuild and get ahead”
“This is the right product for the times. It includes more flexibility, and will allow small businesses to re-stock, rebuild and recover”, said ABA CEO, Anna Bligh.
Banks have developed an industry-wide, consistent approach to hardship and a new online tool to guide customers.
“…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.”
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.
The number of deferred loans has fallen below 300,000 – a reduction of almost 70% since the peak earlier this year.
“we’ve seen a record high number of Australians switch their loans, either to another bank or gone to their own bank and got a better deal.”
Anna answered questions about the impact of COVID-19 on banks’ profits, how banks have responded to help customers during the pandemic and what’s happening next to customers who’ve deferred their mortgages.
Since February 1, Australian banks have approved over $41b for SMEs and sole traders. That’s an average of $5 billion per month.
Interview: Almost 45% of Australians who deferred their mortgages in June have begun repaying their loans.
Almost half of deferred loans are now being repaid again as Australians recover from the pandemic
This year’s federal budget will help Australia recover from the economic impact of COVID‑19 and create jobs as the nation recovers. The Australian Banking Association has welcomed the strong focus on support for small and medium businesses and direct assistance to families. “Australian banks stand ready to continue their role helping millions of Australians through… Read more »
Australia’s banks supported their customers as the country entered the COVID-19 pandemic and they continue to support them on the way out. As the initial wave of 6-month loan payment deferrals come to an end, banks have begun to contact customers for their 6-month assessment and to discuss the next stage of support and assistance. … Read more »
Helping businesses to remain viable and keeping people in their homes is good for everyone.
“These figures show there are some green shoots emerging in our economy and that’s a positive sign.” – ABA CEO Anna Bligh
“This will be welcome news for SMEs and opens up the scheme to those businesses who are looking to invest or need some extra support.”
This new phase of support turns a cliff into manageable steps for Australians to get back on track.
Temporary changes to the Banking Code of Practice reflect that the COVID-19 pandemic may temporarily affect the provision of banking services.
Businesses in the creative industry who are looking to take advantage of the government-backed concessional loans should get in touch with their bank.
Banking activity during the coronavirus pandemic. Between 14 May and 19 June the ABA published data on total deferrals member banks made to customers. These figures represented the sum total of deferrals made at the time of each data publication, and does not account for deferrals which had been reversed at the customer request. ABA’s… Read more »
Banks have deferred the repayments of one in fourteen mortgages totalling more than $150 billion to assist Australians through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Australia’s banks deferred an extra 100,000 loans, this week, including approximately 50,000 home loans, to help customers through the COVID-19 Pandemic. Total number of loans deferred is now at least 643,000.
What’s happened in the Australian banking sector during the coronavirus pandemic.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, banks have provided an estimated $6.8 billion of deferrals and more than $45 billion in new loans.
Currently there are over half a million Australian bank customers who actively use a passbook account or transaction account with no linked debit card.
“Australia’s banks are right behind efforts to open up the economy in the coming weeks, when healthcare authorities say it’s safe to do so.” – Anna Bligh
Today the Treasurer met with the CEOs of ANZ, NAB, Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank who agreed to bolster their efforts to prioritise any business needing funding to bridge the gap until the first Jobkeeper payments are made in May. It was agreed special hotlines would be set up to help manage the applications from… Read more »
“Banks stand ready to throw a lifeline to businesses across the country who are doing it tough through this COVID-19 crisis.”
Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh said the Code would give important guidance for all parties on managing a difficult issue for retail landlords, tenants and banks throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Businesses may be able to use their upcoming JobKeeper payment to seek credit so they can pay employees until the scheme is up and running.
Commercial landlords can get debt relief from their bank, if they don’t terminate leases or evict current tenants for rent arrears due to COVID19.
Today’s announcement by the Federal Government of a second stimulus package, which includes an SME Guarantee Scheme and direct cash grants, will help keep businesses open and save jobs, building on the measures already announced by banks on Friday. The SME Guarantee Scheme which allows for further funds to be injected into small business will… Read more »
Australian banks will defer loan repayments for small businesses affected by COVID-19 for six months.
Bank response to coronavirus stimulus package: “Australia’s banks are strong, stable and open for business, including for any company wanting to take advantage of initiatives in the Government’s stimulus package.”
Any business financially impacted by the effects of COVID-19 should contact their bank