As bushfires continue to devastate regional communities across Australia, NAB has announced that it will be increasing its contributions to bushfire relief efforts, including emergency recovery grants and donations, to $5 million.
The bank had previously pledged to create a $1-million Disaster Relief Fund, which would give customers and employees displaced from their homes ready access to cash, as well as provide support for the months ahead as communities rebuild homes and businesses.
NAB customers who have lost homes this bushfire season can immediately access $2,000 grants to help cover costs such as temporary accommodation, food and clothing, while NAB employees who have had to evacuate their homes can also access a $1,000 grant.
The major bank has said it will now increase the Disaster Relief fund by $3 million, extending access to its $2,000 emergency relief grants to impacted business owners and farmers.
NAB said the fund will also be used to provide ongoing support during the rest of the year, as the scale of the impact of these natural disasters on people and businesses becomes clearer.
As well as increasing the Disaster Relief Fund to $4 million, NAB has said it will also be donating an additional $750,000 to both the Australian Red Cross’ disaster relief efforts as well as local organisations in impacted communities over the coming weeks and months, bringing total donations to $1 million.
NAB’s latest $750,000 donation includes:
- $650,000 to the Australian Red Cross, made up of $250,000 direct and matched donations to Disaster Relief & Recovery fund for immediate disaster response and longer-term recovery efforts;
- $400,000 for future preparedness and community resilience work; and
- $100,000 to NAB’s local donate fund for bankers to distribute within affected communities.
Further, the major bank has pledged greater support for NAB business and agribusiness customers directly impacted by bushfires, including:
- $2,000 grants to help restart or reopen and cover the cost of damaged property, equipment, fencing – and for loss of stock or livestock
- Up to a three-year deferral of interest and repayments for existing NAB loans where individual circumstances warrant
- A commitment not to foreclose upon or force the sale of existing loans for up to three years
- $1 billion in concessional loans to customers seeking support to restructure existing facilities to assist in repairs, restocking and reopening for business
- Support and counselling by making NAB’s Employee Assistance Program available to customers.
Commenting on the extended donation package, NAB CEO Ross McEwan said the scale of the bushfires was devastating and the bank aims to support families and communities that have been directly affected.
“People have tragically lost loved ones, homes, pets, livestock and livelihoods,” Mr McEwan said.
“We want to help those affected start to rebuild, with some immediate assistance to help our customers and colleagues deal with the impact – as well as support the long-term recovery effort.”
He also welcomed the federal government’s establishment of a National Bushfire Recovery Agency and the $2-billion Recovery Fund.
“We look forward to working with the agency and other partners over coming months to assist people impacted by the bushfires.
“Focusing on the recovery and rebuilding of these communities is critical, and NAB will play whatever role we can to support today and in the weeks and months ahead,” Mr McEwan said.
The majors announce support for affected communities
The announcement from NAB comes just days after the four major banks made million-dollar donation pledges to support individuals and communities affected by bushfires, including fire services.
CBA and ANZ have both pledged $1-million packages to support customers and local communities affected by the bushfire emergency, while Westpac has announced a $1.5-million fund.