Australians affected by the catastrophic bushfires across parts of Australia are encouraged to contact their bank to access a wide range of available assistance.
Acting CEO of the Australian Banking Association (ABA), Vanessa Beggs, said over the past few months bank hardship teams have been working with communities impacted by natural disasters, offering customers a range of services including deferred loan repayments, waiving fees and charges and restructuring of existing loans.
“It’s hard to truly comprehend the grief and devastation that communities and individuals have experienced, through one of the worst bushfire seasons that Australians have ever known. Banks stand ready to support their customers through these very difficult times.
“Banks have hardship teams that are ready to assist customers affected by natural disasters such as these, offering help which can include deferring loan repayments, waiving fees and consolidating debt to make it more manageable,” she said.
ABA member banks offer a range of services to help customers affected by bushfires or other circumstances outside their control. These can include:
- A deferral of scheduled loan repayments
- Waiving fees and charges, including break costs on early redemption of Farm Management Deposits
- 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.
Small businesses affected by these bushfires are also encouraged to contact their bank to access various forms of assistance to help them through the recovery.