The ABA’s financial difficulty hub helps customers impacted by natural disaster
ABA member banks have worked to strengthen and streamline the banking industry’s response to, and preparedness for, natural disasters.
This work is in recognition that natural disasters are increasing in frequency and intensity and there is a heightened focus placed on disaster resilience across government and the community.
This work covers
- Better coordination to ensure a consistent, supportive and timely response by the banking industry to natural disasters when they arise
- Coordinating key messages for customers and the community for communications about banking during disasters
- Designing and collecting industry data to assist government and other stakeholders
- Improving cross-sector collaboration & customer financial resilience
- Providing advocacy to improve decisions made by policy makers and other industries
When considering the type of assistance that might be appropriate, banks will assess the situation on a case-by-case basis and consider a customer’s specific circumstances. Examples of bank assistance include:
- deferring scheduled loan repayments, restructuring and consolidating loans
- changing limits on lines of credit (e.g. credit card)
- waiving certain fees and including break costs on early access to term deposits
- providing a moratorium on collections action.
As well as the above measures, many of our member banks have put in place other initiatives to support people and communities suffering from the impact of bushfires, including:
- providing access to free accommodation or emergency funds
- deploying hardship banks to provide on-the-ground specialised advice
- ensuring communities have access to banking services, including deploying mobile ATMs
- providing grants or donations to not-for profit organisations and community groups, such as Australian Red Cross and volunteer fire services
- offering support and counselling to customers through the bank’s assistance programs
- supporting staff in affected communities by providing extended leave and expanding their organisational volunteering policies.