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Major banks are offering support, including loan deferrals, for customers impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown in New South Wales.
Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, Westpac and NAB have all announced measures to aid residents and businesses locked down because of the Bondi COVID-19 cluster, The Australian reported. The measures are available to customers whose income has dropped due to forced business closures in the Greater Sydney, Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Illawarra regions.
Banks will also give loan customers the opportunity to switch to fixed rates, place a hold on repayments, and reduce interest, The Australian reported.
CBA chief executive Matt Comyn told the publication that he is confident Sydney will be able to weather the two-week lockdown, but urged impacted residents to contact their banks if they needed assistance.
“I urge anyone who is concerned about their financial circumstances to contact their bank or financial institution to see what help there is available to them,” Comyn said.
The CBA chief said that nearly 20,000 of the bank’s employees have been forced to work from home, but stressed that banking services would still be available during the lockdown.
“Banking is a designated essential service, and we very much remain open for business,” Comyn told The Australian.
The big four banks will also offer financial counselling during the lockdown.
NAB business bank executive Andrew Irvine told The Australian that the bank would deal with customer issues on a case-by-case basis.
“Our bankers will work with customers to understand their individual situation, the pressures they’re under and how we can tailor support specifically for them,” he said.
Chris de Bruin, Westpac head of consumer and business, said Westpac would also be offering tailored support to customers.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present challenges for households and small business owners, and we know that some customers across NSW will need an extra helping hand to get through the latest restrictions,” de Bruin told The Australian. “We have specialist support teams ready to assist customers and we’re here to help them get back on their feet.”
The big four banks are offering the following support to lockdown-impacted customers:
CBA retail customers
- Accessing funds from redraw facilities and everyday offset accounts
- Restructuring mortgage debt
- Switching mortgages to a fixed rate
- Reducing payments to the minimum monthly amount
- Moratorium on forced sales until September 2021 for COVID-impacted customers
CBA business customers
- Deferrals for repayment on asset finance and certain business loans
- Refunds on merchant terminal fees for up to 90 days
- Fee waivers on cash deposits and farm management deposit accounts
- Customised support for larger business customers
- Loans through the federal SME Loan Recovery Scheme, with repayment holidays attached from 12 months
Westpac retail customers
- Interest rate and credit card reductions
- Mortgage and personal loan repayment deferrals or reductions, including interest rate reductions or loan extensions
- Fee waivers
- Debt restructuring
- Financial counselling and hardship support
Westpac business customers
- Customised management support for small business customers in financial hardship
- Repayment reductions or deferrals on asset and equipment finance
- Business loan restructuring with no fees
- Referrals to financial counselling
- Access to the SME Recovery Loan Scheme
NAB retail customers
- Temporary reductions in repayments, as arranged with the bank
- Temporary payment breaks
- Mortgage restructuring or debt consolidation
- Financial counselling
NAB business customers
- Restructuring business facilities, including reduced or waived application fees
- Principal payment deferrals
- Waived costs and charges for term deposit withdrawals
- Credit card and personal loan support
- Professional wellbeing support
ANZ retail customers
- Short-term repayment relief
- Fee waivers
- Mortgage debt restructuring, including switching to a fixed-term rate
ANZ business customers
- Short-term repayment relief on asset finance or business loans
- Refunds on merchant terminal fees and other fee waivers
- Financial counselling
Ryan Smith is currently an executive editor at Key Media, where he started as a journalist in 2013. He has since he worked his way up to managing editor and is now an executive editor. He edits content for several B2B publications across the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. He also writes feature content for trade publications for the insurance and mortgage industries.
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