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Banks freeze 392,000 home loans

Australian banks have deferred a total of at least $200 billion in loan repayments across 643,000 loans since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, banks across Australia have been offering eligible small-business customers – and subsequently home loan, credit card and personal loan customers – with temporary payment relief on their loan commitments from mid-March 2020.

Since then, according to data released by the Australian Banking Association (ABA), Australian banks have frozen a total of over $200 billion in loan repayments across 643,000 loans.

In the seven days to Friday, 7 May, alone, repayment pauses were introduced on 100,000 loans, to a value of over $20 billion.

Further, half of the repayment holidays granted over the week were provided to mortgage-holders, taking the total number of loan deferrals issued on home loans to 392,000.

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ABA chief executive Anna Bligh stated that the uptick in deferral requests during the first week of May suggests that the economic fallout of the pandemic continues to unfold, and that customers will require support for their bank to get through.

She also noted the ongoing effort from the banking sector to support individual and business customers through this difficult economic period.

“New data released [on Friday] shows that in just one week, an extra 100,000 customers have had their loans deferred, including 50,000 home loans, to take the pressure off household and business budgets as they navigate through this pandemic,” Ms Bligh said.

“These updated figures, together with figures not previously reported, bring the total number of loans deferred by Australia’s banks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to over 643,000, of which approximately 392,000 are home loans.

“The total value of loans which have been deferred has increased by at least $20 billion in just one week,” she said.

Ms Bligh continued: “These new figures, released [on Friday], shows banks working overtime to ensure assistance is given where needed to customers who are affected by this crisis.

“The surge in demand for assistance from banks shows that the economic impacts continue to be felt, and by no means is the nation through this crisis,” she concluded.

[Related: Banks to withstand sixfold increase in credit losses: S&P]

Banks freeze 392,000 home loans
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