Banks boost assistance amid COVID lockdowns

By Gerv Tacadena

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) is urging customers affected by lockdowns to reach out to their banks and financial providers to explore the assistance options available.

Anna Bligh, CEO of ABA, said banks have already announced further support for customers affected by continuing COVID-19 lockdowns or those recovering from recent lockdowns.

Bligh said the recent lockdowns have taken their toll on customers, making the recovery slow despite the economy being in good shape.

“Customers can rest assured that if they need help, they will get it. Your bank will help you find a way through, don’t tough it out on your own," she said.

The support measures are available to all small businesses and home loan customers significantly impacted by current lockdowns or recovery from recent lockdowns.

“This pandemic demonstrates why strong and stable banks are so important for the nation’s economy. Banks are ready to do whatever they can to shield their customers from the impact of these recent lockdowns," Bligh said.

For mortgage borrowers, deferrals on a month-by-month basis are now available.

Deferrals are also available to businesses for up to three months, with the option of loan terms being extended. This is offered to small business customers with loans of less than $3m and a turnover of less than $5m.

The banks will also be issuing refunds for merchant terminal fees for up to three months. They can also waive fees and notice periods on cash deposit and farm management deposit accounts for up to three months.

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