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Vast majority of deferred loans back on track – peak body

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    The majority of loans placed on deferral due to the COVID-19 pandemic have resumed normal repayments, according to Australia’s peak banking organization.

    Nearly 1 million loans were deferred due to COVID-19 hardship during the pandemic. However, only 0.5% remained deferred as of March 31, according to the Australian Banking Association.

    The ABA found that only 3,170 home loans and 508 small business loans were still on hold. ABA chief executive Anna Bligh told The Australian that those numbers showed how well Australia protected itself from the worst of the financial fallout caused by the pandemic.

    “These figures reflect the impressive recovery Australia’s economy is experiencing after facing a one-in-100-year pandemic,” she said. “The fact that unemployment is lower than expected and the economy has rebounded faster than we anticipated is great news for the vast majority of homeowners and small businesses.”

    At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Australian banks instituted deferral periods of up to six months for mortgage and small business customers experiencing COVID-related financial hardship. While that deferral period has ended, banks are still offering support to customers and businesses still dealing with the fallout of the pandemic, The Australian reported.

    Read next: How will the end of mortgage deferrals impact the housing boom?

    “Banks will continue to support those households and businesses still doing it tough this year, taking a fair and compassionate approach to get people through the pandemic,” Bligh said.

    Loan deferrals hit a peak last June, with 854,006 loans on hold across the big four banks and Suncorp, according to The Australian.

    Currently, Victoria has the highest proportion of mortgages and small business loans still on deferral, the ABA reported.

    Ryan SmithRyan 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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