Australia’s major banks have begun rolling out home loan deferral programs as large swathes of the country enter COVID-19 lockdowns.
More than 11 million Australians are now unable to lockdown conditions, with many unable to leave their local government areas (LGAs) to work.
Australian Banking Association (ABA) CEO Anna Bligh on Saturday said customers should be confident that their banks have their backs.
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“Today’s announcement in NSW means more businesses, construction workers and tradies will be unable to work in the coming weeks. If they are struggling financially, the best thing they can do is call their bank,” Bligh said.
She said the ABA’s package of assistance, first announced on 8 July, will help customers and urged them not to “tough it out” on their own.
Yahoo Finance breaks down what each major bank is offering home loan customers:
Commonwealth Bank of Australia: Two-month deferrals
CommBank CEO Matt Comyn on Saturday announced the bank’s expanded measures for home loan customers, including two-month mortgage repayment deferrals.
As of Monday, customers - particularly those in the Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool LGAs - will be able to access the deferrals.
“I want to assure all of our customers across Australia who are today facing tighter restrictions that support is available right now,” Comyn said.
“Australians have responded well to the pandemic over the last 18 months and we will do so again as we face this next phase of restrictions.”
Customers voluntarily making higher repayments can also reduce their repayments to the minimum level, while others can access money in their Everyday Offset accounts, access money available in redraw accounts and switch to fixed rate loans.
NAB: Deferrals on a month-by-month basis
NAB will offer home loan customers mortgage repayment deferrals on a monthly basis. This is usually offered for up to three months.
It is also offering temporarily reduced payments and restructured loans, and access to redraw facilities and offset accounts.
“The measures announced today by the NSW Government along with the lockdown in Victoria are tough, but they are necessary to protect the community,” NAB CEO Ross McEwan said on Saturday.
“We know every situation is different and our business bankers are checking in with customers to see how they are doing and what help they might need for their situation.”
He urged Australians to get vaccinated, describing it as “the only way out” of repeated lockdowns.
Westpac: Deferrals on a month-by-month basis
Westpac is offering reduced interest rates, loan terms extensions, restructured debt arrangements and monthly mortgage repayment deferrals.
“We recognise many of our customers need assistance following the increased lockdowns across Australia. We want customers to know there are a broad range of options to help businesses and individuals through this challenging period," Westpac CEO Peter King said.
“We are reminding customers that if they are facing financial difficulty, call us early so we can work through the most appropriate tailored options to support them, including repayment deferrals on home and business loans for up to three months."
Westpac customers can access support by ringing 1800 067 497.
ANZ: Short-term payment relief
ANZ’s support for customers affected by NSW and Victoria’s lockdowns includes offers for customers to restructure home loan debt or switch to fixed rate loans.
It’s also offering to waive certain fees and “short-term payment relief”.
“We know this lockdown will have a big impact on our customers in and around Sydney. Like the lockdowns we’ve seen in other states, we know it can be some time before the real effects are felt by families and businesses,” ANZ Group executive retail and commercial banking Mark Hand said in late June.
“We want our customers to know there is help available if they need it in this difficult time. Our teams are standing ready to assist and will work with customers to understand their specific needs and help tailor individual solutions.”