Banks urge borrowers affected by lockdowns to seek assistance

By Gerv Tacadena

The Australian Banking Association is urging bank customers who are affected by the recent lockdowns to reach out to their financial providers to access a range of support measures.

Banks across the country have rolled out support schemes for customers affected by the COVID-related lockdowns, particularly in New South Wales.

Anna Bligh, CEO of ABA, said these lockdowns can have devastating consequences for homeowners and small businesses.

“The message from banks is clear: don’t tough it out on your own. Call your bank. They will do whatever they can to help," she said.

Some of the options available for customers include:

  • Adjustments to loan repayments
  • Waiving fees and charges
  • Interest free periods or no interest rate increases
  • Debt consolidation to help make repayments more manageable

Matt Comyn, chairperson of the Australian Banking Association and CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, said banks and financial institutions are open to offering individually tailored assistance to their customers.

“Our communities have shown how resilient they can be, but we know that it is important to assure them that the country’s banks including CBA stand ready to help them with a series of financial support measures including lending and individually tailored assistance,” he said. “I urge anyone who is concerned about their financial circumstances to contact their bank or financial institution to see what help there is available to them.”

Comyn said banking remains an essential service and financial institutions will remain open for business amid the restrictions.

“Australia has a strong, stable and very secure financial system. This includes well-capitalised and strong banks, which together with the support of the federal and state governments, regulators and the broader industry, have helped the country get through the worst pandemic in 100 years,” he said.

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