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Major banks offer flood relief, assistance

The big four banks have announced disaster relief funds and emergency assistance to customers and businesses who have suffered damage or loss because of the floods in NSW.

National Australia Bank (NAB) has established a disaster relief fund of up to $3 million for those affected by floods across NSW.

NAB said it will make $2,000 grants available immediately for customers and employees impacted by the floods.

According to the bank, the grants will provide NAB customers and employees who have suffered damage to their homes “ready-to-access” funds, and also provide immediate relief to business and agriculture customers who have suffered damage or losses because of the floods.

The bank will provide support for NAB customers directly impacted by the current floods, including:

  • Immediate access to $2,000 grants to help cover costs such as temporary accommodation, food and clothing (eligibility criteria apply);
  • Business grants of $2,000 to assist with restarting or reopening and covering the cost of damaged property, equipment and fencing, and loss of stock or livestock;
  • Support to restructure existing business banking facilities;
  • Fee waiver on terminal rental for a period of up to three months for merchants working terminals that are no longer able to trade; and
  • Support and counselling through NAB’s Employee Assistance Program.

NAB also announced that as part of the disaster relief fund, it will donate $100,000 to the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) to support its response efforts, and $100,000 to support national not-for-profit organisation GIVIT’s severe storms and flooding efforts.

The major bank stated that this support is in addition to the previously announced disaster relief package, which provided various financial relief measures.

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These measures included:

  • Providing credit card and personal loan relief;
  • Waiving application fees and charges for withdrawing term deposits early;
  • Waiving the application fee for restructuring business facilities;
  • Deferral of principal and/or leasing payments; and
  • Providing access to complimentary, professional and confidential counselling.

NAB customers whose homes have been damaged by the floods are being asked to contact the lender. The bank stated that all enquiries will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, with the NAB Assist team to determine eligibility.   

CBA announces assistance for QLD

Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has announced that it is providing emergency assistance to customers and businesses in Queensland flood-affected areas, following its activation of emergency assistance to customers in NSW last week.

As part of the assistance, CBA said it can discuss a range of options with customers, including:

  • Customised payment arrangements for home loans, credit cards or persona 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;
  • Other individual support options;
  • Assistance with emergency accommodation for CommInsure customers if their homes have been damaged; and
  • The option to expedite claims to CommInsure for customers seeking assistance through their home and contents insurance.

Westpac announces $10 million fund

Westpac has announced that it has established flood support fund of up to $10 million to provide emergency grants for customers and employees in flood-affected areas across NSW and southeast Queensland.

The fund will provide access to grants for those with significant damage to their home or business as a result of the recent severe weather events, the major bank said.

The bank said that business customers can access grants of $5,000 to assist with the recovery and re-opening process, including repairing damage and helping with costs like the loss of equipment and stock.

In addition, employees and customers in flood-affected areas can access emergency grants of $3,000 to assist with costs for essential items and services, Westpac added.

Westpac said it has also extended its emergency assistance package to customers and businesses in flood-affected areas in southeast Queensland, in addition to the support announced for NSW residents over the weekend.

Eligibility criteria for consumer customers include:

  • They must be current Westpac Group customers who have banked with Westpac on or before 20 March 2021, and hold at least one active account;
  • They have experienced severe impact to their primary place of residence caused by or as a result of the floods (rent or own), meaning the property is no longer in a "liveable" condition;
  • One grant per household (a household is defined as a residential address); and
  • Applies to primary residences as per Westpac customer records on 20 March 2021.

Eligibility criteria for business customers include:

  • They must be current Westpac customer with a business trading/transaction account opened on or before 20 March 2021, with the business currently in operation;
  • They must have minimum total business lending limits (including equipment finance, term lending, working capital and invoice finance) of $250,000 per customer group;
  • They have experienced significant damage to or destruction of income-producing assets due to the floods, including on the business premises, equipment and loss of stock, or livestock but not loss of income; and
  • One grant per business customer group.

Affected customers have been encouraged to discuss their individual circumstances by calling the lender.

Lenders are also offering customers financial support packages, with most providing a deferral of scheduled loan repayments on home loans, business loans and personal loans, as well as waiving fees and charges, including break costs on early access to term deposits.

This has followed widespread and persistent rain over the past week, which has led to severe floods and significant destruction across NSW.

At the time of writing, the NSW government had issued 34 national disaster declarations to local government areas.

[Related: Lenders offer loan relief for flood victims]

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