High winds, damaging rains, and flash flooding have wreaked havoc in several communities in Victoria, including the Gippsland region, with homes damaged or left without power, and more rain is expected.
In response to the floods, major banks have announced that customers affected by the floods can access immediate financial support. They have also encouraged affected customers to contact their near bank branches for assistance.
ANZ has announced that it would provide a financial support package for individual and business customers that have been impacted by storms and floods across Victoria.
Support measures from the major bank include:
- Short-term payment relief on home loans, credit cards, personal loans, and some business loans (ANZ said that it may still charge customers interest during that period;
- Waiving fees for restructuring business loans; and
- Waiving fees for accessing term deposits early.
Commenting on the measures, ANZ general manager for Victoria and Tasmania Cameron Home said: “These storms have left hundreds of residents affected, with significant damage to their homes or businesses. People in these communities are going to need help and support to get back on their feet.
“As our customers begin the recovery process, we hope these relief measures will assist in what is a very difficult time.”
Similarly, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has announced that it is providing emergency assistance for individual and business customers in Victorian storm-affected areas.
The major bank said that it has implemented special arrangements to provide support to CBA and CommInsure customers should they need it, with options including:
- Customised payment arrangements for home loan, credit card, business or personal loans;
- Waiving fees and charges;
- Temporary overdrafts, additional loans, or emergency credit limit increases (subject to credit approval);
- Waiving fees and notice periods for early access to term deposits;
- Emergency accommodation assistance for CommInsure residential home insurance customers whose homes have been damaged;
- Expedited CommInsure claims for customers claiming on their home and contents insurance; and
- Other individual support options.
Commenting on the assistance measures, CBA retail banking services group executive Angus Sullivan said: “These storms have been extremely destructive and our thoughts are with everyone impacted.
“We are here to support our customers and communities in times of need. We understand that everyone will have different needs and we encourage our customers that are affected to contact us to discuss their individual circumstances.”
In addition, National Australia Bank (NAB) has announced that it would provide financial support, including:
- Deferral of principal and/or leasing payments;
- Waiving the application fee for restructuring business facilities;
- Credit card and personal loan relief;
- Waiving application fees and charges for withdrawing term deposits early; and
- Free professional and confidential counselling.
NAB retail executive regional Victoria, Mil Kairouz said that the measures were aimed at providing immediate financial support.
He said: “This is devastating many customers – we’re here to support you. First priority is to stay safe, and then look to us for support.
“We are here to support you before, during and after a natural disaster. Anyone who needs assistance can contact us and we’ll talk through the best way to help.”
Westpac has rolled out emergency support measures for households and businesses affected by the floods in Victoria.
Support measure options include:
- Home loan customers may apply to defer repayments for up to three months;
- Credit card customers may request to defer repayments for up to 90 days;
- Customers wishing to purchase replacement goods may apply for a personal loan at a discounted interest rate with no establishment fee; and
- Waived interest rate adjustments for customers wishing to withdraw term deposits.
Furthermore, business customers may request loan restructuring with no fees incurred, while affected business customers with merchant facilities are eligible to receive assistance including monthly terminal access fee waivers for up to three months.
Customers with Westpac home and contents insurance may also be eligible to receive access to emergency funds and temporary accommodation under the terms of their policy, the major bank said.
Westpac CEO consumer and business banking Chris de Bruin spoke about the measures, stating: “The severe weather events in the Gippsland region and other parts of Victoria have caused devastation to homes and businesses, on top of the recent challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our thoughts are with our customers and employees in the impacted areas, as well as the emergency services personnel assisting with the response in extremely difficult conditions.
“This is an evolving situation, and the priority should be following the advice of emergency services.
“We want our customers to know there is a range of support available. When they are ready to speak with us, we have a dedicated team to support with assistance tailored to meet their circumstances,” he said.
[Related: Big 4 offer Vic lockdown support measures]
Malavika Santhebennur is the features editor on the mortgages titles at Momentum Media.
Before joining the team in 2019, Malavika held roles with Money Management and Benchmark Media. She has been writing about financial services for the past six years.