Australia is in the grip of a major crisis, fighting an unprecedented bushfire season. Over 2,000 homes have already been destroyed in some of the worst bushfires ever experienced. Now, several lenders are offering relief for victims of the bushfires with relaxation on payments for loans and credit cards, waiving of fees and emergency credit assistance. If you’ve been victim of the devastating bushfires, it’s vital you reach out to your mortgage broker or banker for assistance or respite.
Bushfire relief packages
Several lenders have announced they are offering bushfire relief packages to victims of the bushfires, along with several million-dollar donation packages. All major banks have issued updates regarding their financial assistance packages and are urging customers to contact their bank as soon as they are able to discuss how to access the financial relief package.
Here is a summary of what lenders are offering:
- The ability to suspend repayments on loans, including credit cards, for up to three months (which may include interest capitalisation);
- Temporary interest rate relief on lending for customers experiencing extreme financial distress in areas impacted by the fires;
- Waiving of fees associated with restructuring business loans considered necessary due to bushfire impacts;
- Access to term deposits early without incurring any fees; and
- Assistance for affected customers with ANZ Home and Contents insurance as they may be eligible for measures such as emergency funds and temporary accommodation.
- Providing support to its bank and insurance customers should they need it and will offer emergency accommodation for CommInsure customers whose homes have been damaged and expedite their insurance claims.
- Further assistance, fee waiving and loan restructuring for CBA home loan, credit card and personal loan customers who are affected and may experience difficulties because of this, and will consider requests for additional loans, including emergency credit limit increases (subject to credit approval).
- Credit card and personal loan relief where appropriate;
- Suspending home and personal loan repayments;
- Support to manage existing regional and agribusiness bank facilities;
- Waiving costs and charges for withdrawing term deposits early;
- Waiving home loan and personal loan application fees;
- Support to restructure other existing bank facilities; and
- Provision of support and counselling by making NAB's Employee Assistance Program available to customers.
- NAB also said it has donated $50,000 to local charities supporting relief and recovery efforts in the region and $50,000 to Australian Red Cross for its ongoing emergency work.
- The Westpac Disaster Relief Package offers various options to affected customers, including: deferred payments for three months, loan restructuring (without incurring the usual bank fees such as establishment fees and break costs), discounted personal loans for customers wishing to purchase replacement goods; waived interest rate adjustments for affected customers wishing to withdraw term deposits, and assistance for insurance customers in accessing emergency accommodation.
So far, two of our Big 4 banks, NAB and ANZ have acknowledged and supported their staff who volunteer in emergency services to ensure they are financially supported with special paid leave while they are serving the community.
If you have been affected by the bushfires, it’s vital you contact your mortgage broker or bank as soon as possible to discuss your circumstances and apply for relief.
Major banks have announced million-dollar donation packages which will go towards supporting individuals, communities and organisations affected by the bushfires.
A number of fundraisers and appeals have been set up by charities, organisations and individuals. If you’d like to support victims of the bushfires and those on the front line, please consider donating to one of these major appeals:
- NSW Rural Fire Service
- VIC Country Fire Authority
- SA Country Fire Service
- QLD Fire and Rescue
- Western Australia
- Tasmania Fire Service
- Red Cross
- Salvation Army
Stay safe Australia!
While all care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, no warranty is given as to the accuracy of the information and no responsibility is taken by Finservice Pty Ltd (Mortgage Express) for any errors or omissions. This publication does not constitute personalised financial advice. It may not be relevant to individual circumstances. Nothing in this publication is, or should be taken as, an offer, invitation, or recommendation to buy, sell, or retain any investment in or make any deposit with any person. You should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt within this publication. A Disclosure Statement is available on request and free of charge.
Finservice Pty Ltd (Mortgage Express) is authorised as a corporate credit representative (Corporate Credit Representative Number 397386) to engage in credit activities on behalf of BLSSA Pty Ltd (Australian Credit Licence number 391237) ACN 123 600 000 | Full member of MFAA | Member of Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AF