10 October 2018
Today’s announcement of the new Drought Finance Taskforce, bringing together banks, government departments, elected representatives and peak bodies is an important vehicle to share information and identify ways banks can better assist Australia’s farmers and their local communities doing it tough.
The industry’s involvement in the taskforce builds upon drought assistance already announced by Australia’s banks over the last 12 months.
CEO of the Australian Banking Association Anna Bligh said that the industry has been working hard behind the scenes to ensure Australian communities affected by drought receive strong support.
“Today’s announcement of a new taskforce will help coordinate the sharing of information between banks, governments departments and our elected officials to ensure our farmers and regional communities affected by the drought receive the support they need quickly and easily,” Ms Bligh said.
“For many decades Australian banks have been supporting our farmers through droughts, floods and other natural disasters.
“Banks have been closely monitoring drought conditions across the country, particularly in NSW and Queensland and have each individually announced drought packages for their customers.
“Initiatives already announced include deferred loan payments, waiving fees and restructuring loans,” she said.
Assistance already on offer from banks include:
- A deferral of scheduled loan repayments
- 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
- Waiving early termination fees for customers who wish to access their term deposits.
Contact: Rory Grant 0475 741 007
“Australian banks are certainly better equipped now than they were in the GFC. They’ve got 2 to 2.5 times the capital reserves put aside for a rainy day than they had in the GFC”
“The Australian Banking Association (ABA) welcomes the agreement reached today on the proposed safeguard mechanism reforms, given it paves the way for the passing of a critical piece of legislation for Australia.
“This is about engaging with the entire banking ecosystem in order to ensure the accessibility of the sector’s services are best serving our diverse community now, and into the future.”