Following on from its commitment to donate a total of $1 million to The Salvation Army Disaster Appeal and the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery fund to help support the bushfire recovery, the non-bank lender has now announced a financial relief package for borrowers who have lost their homes in the ongoing bushfire crisis.
For customers who have lost their homes to the bushfires, La Trobe Financial said it will pay loan interest and charges for 12 months, provide access to interest-free loans to help cover any gap between insurance payouts and the cost of rebuilding, and allow fee-free withdrawals from investments in the La Trobe Australian Credit Fund.
For La Trobe Financial customers that are experiencing “hardship” because of the bushfires, the lender has said it will defer repayments for up to 12 months while also providing finance on discounted terms to cover property repair costs or support a small business.
The lender said it will make it easier to access investments in the La Trobe Australian Credit Fund without incurring fees.
Customers who are volunteer firefighters may also defer the home loan repayments for up to six months.
Greg O’Neill OAM, La Trobe Financial’s president and CEO, commented: “True to our philosophy of ‘Others before self’, we are determined to look out for our customers and offer meaningful support to those affected through this very challenging time.”
Customers requiring assistance are asked to contact the lender as soon as possible.
Mortgage industry relief and donation packages
Over the past few weeks, many lenders have been offering financial relief packages to those that have been impacted by the fires that have been burning across the country.
The big four banks have all committed to multimillion-dollar donation packages (with NAB providing support totalling $5 million), while Westpac announced last week that it would spare its mortgage customers from their repayment obligations for a year (up to $1,200 per month) if they had lost their principal place of residence due to the bushfires.
The mortgage industry has also been actively fundraising and donating to charities and organisations that support bushfire recovery.
Alongside individual contributions, the Mortgage and Finance Industry Bushfire Relief fund has raised more than half of its $750,000 target – gaining significant support from major brokerages Aussie, Loan Market and Mortgage Choice, as well as from the NAB-owned aggregators Choice, FAST and PLAN, along with AFG, industry associations and individual brokers.
According to the Red Cross, $15 is enough to support a family who has just been evacuated from their home during a bushfire, $20 can help train and support Red Cross volunteers to provide advice and support to those struggling in the aftermath of a disaster, $100 can provide 40 households with emergency REDIplan materials to help them prepare for disaster, while $200 can deliver a preparedness session for 30 people.
A donation of $1,000 can assist the Red Cross in setting up and staff an emergency information service to help those searching for missing friends or family.
Anyone looking to donate to the Mortgage and Finance Industry Bushfire Relief can do so via the relevant page on the Red Cross site.
[Related: Lenders pledge support to bushfire recovery]
Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.
As well as writing about the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts.