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Lenders join push for reopening economy

The major banks and a number of lenders have signed an open letter to the government, asking it to stick to its path out of lockdowns.

The open letter penned by the Business Council of Australia (BCA) has asked the Australian government to “stay the course” on the national cabinet’s road map, which plans to ease COVID restrictions when the population reaches 70 per cent and 80 per cent vaccination rates.

The big four banks, Bank of Queensland, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Credit Suisse, La Trobe Financial, Latitude, Macquarie, Pepper Money and Suncorp, among a number of companies, have signed the call to action.

“We ask governments to work together to implement the national plan and chart a path out of the current lockdowns,” the letter said.

“Providing a light at the end of the tunnel will encourage more Australians to get vaccinated. We need to give people something to hope for, something to look forward to, something to plan around, and to be confident about their futures.”

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The BCA also acknowledged the “effectiveness of lockdowns in suppressing the virus”, as the country moves to distribute vaccinations.

“At the same time, we can also see the impact of lockdowns on our people, on our customers, on our small business suppliers, and on communities and families right across the country,” the letter stated.

“Australia is juggling a mental health emergency at the same time as a global pandemic. Some of the impacts of current lockdowns are hidden and the effects will be long lasting.

“As vaccination rates increase, it will become necessary to open up society and live with the virus, in the same way that other countries have done.”

CBA and Westpac recently began their own COVID-related programs, offering staff access to antigen testing and vaccines in Sydney’s hotspots.

Meanwhile Lendi Group, Athena Home Loans, Domain Group, Prospa, Valiant Finance and Zip Co, were among a number of fintechs that committed to offering paid vaccination leave for all employees.

Finance Brokers Association of Australia managing director Peter White also urged brokers to get vaccinated, saying it would be in the interests of the industry and the broader community.

[Related: ANZ targets broker turnarounds as lending falls]

Lenders join push for reopening economy
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