Banks step up disaster support

Australian banks on Saturday announced an expanded package of support measures for customers affected by harsher lockdowns in New South Wales and the reintroduction of restrictions in Victoria. 

The Commonwealth Bank will offer two-month deferrals on home loans to customers in the Fairfield, Liverpool, and Canterbury Bankstown council areas who are severely affected by the hard lockdown.  

CBA boss Matt Comyn said the deferral arrangement will also apply to those construction and discretionary retail sectors.   

“I want to assure all of our customers across Australia who are today facing tighter restrictions that support is available right now,” he said. 

“Australians have responded well to the pandemic over the last 18 months, and we will do so again as we face into this next phase of restrictions.  

“We have measures in place to support you during this difficult time, including short-term repayment deferrals for home loan and small business customers. Our teams are here to help and can tailor solutions to suit your different circumstances.” 

This new deferral arrangement is in addition to measures announced last week ranging from fee waivers on merchant terminals to options that allow eligible businesses access to additional credit. 

“Our communities have shown how resilient they can be, but we know that it is important to assure them that the country’s banks, including CBA, stand ready to help them with a series of financial support measures including lending and individually tailored assistance. 

“We hope that these support measures go some way in helping our customers as we all navigate our way through this pandemic.” 

ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott also reiterated that it was ready and willing to help customers who need some financial assistance. 

“We are ready to step up and help our customers again. We have an experienced team and a range of financial support measures for a variety of situations, as we know each customer’s circumstances are different,” he said. 

“Anyone who feels they might need some help should get in touch with ANZ to discuss their situation so we can understand how we can help. We know from experience that supporting each other is the best way to get through this and ANZ will do its part.” 

Eligible for the jab 

As both New South Wales and Victoria fight Covid-19 outbreaks, National Australia Bank chief Ross McEwan reminded customers that the bank stands ready to help those who need it. 

“The measures announced today by the New South Wales government along with the lockdown in Victoria are tough, but they are necessary to protect the community,” he said. 

McEwan urged Australians who are eligible to get vaccinated. 

“Getting more Australians vaccinated is the only way out of repeated lockdowns and is the key to unlocking greater freedoms and a more normal life for all of us,” he added. 

Westpac’s Peter King urged customers to get in touch with the bank early when facing financial difficulty so bank staff could come up with the best way to support them, including repayment deferrals on home and business loans for up to three months. 

“The population being vaccinated is the key to getting back to a more normal way of life, so Westpac will continue to do what we can to support this roll out in coming months,” he added. 


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