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Hardship assistance triples as deferrals continue to rise

15 September 2021

More than 57,000 customers have received hardship assistance during recent lockdowns across Australia, including more than 30,000 loan payment deferrals on home and business loans.

New statistics released by the Australian Banking Association today show hardship assistance, which includes deferring credit card payments and waiving fees and charges, has almost tripled over the last month, up to 57,000 from 20,000 last month.

Home loan deferrals have grown to more than 27,000, up from 14,500 last month, while deferred business loans also increased to more than 3,500 from just 600 in the same period.

Comparatively, this is significantly below the peak assistance provided in 2020, which saw more than one million home and business loans deferred.

Anna Bligh, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Banking Association, said while the majority of hardship approvals have come from NSW and Victoria, customers are reminded not to tough it out on their own no matter where they live.

“it is no surprise more strain is being put on people and businesses but it is important to remember that banks are here to help”

ABA CEO Anna Bligh

“As lockdowns continue to be extended across cities and states, it is no surprise more strain is being put on people and businesses but it is important to remember that banks are here to help,” Ms Bligh said.

“Over the last month, we have seen a substantial rise in business owners putting their hand up for assistance, and I encourage anyone else who is feeling the strain to do the same.

“Support is available to all small businesses and home loan customers significantly impacted by current lockdowns or recovering from recent lockdowns, no matter where they live or their line of work,” she said.

The majority of customers taking up hardship and deferral assistance continue to be located in NSW. More than half of all hardship (57 per cent), housing deferrals (69 per cent), and business deferrals, (72 per cent), are located in NSW.

Home loan deferrals continue to be the most common type of deferral provided to customers, with 88 per cent of all deferrals related to home loans.

Banks have dedicated hardship teams who can have a range of options available to suit customers’ needs.

“The sooner you talk to your bank, the sooner they can help you find a solution that is right for you,” Ms Bligh said.


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