Banks supporting customers with up to 3 months loan deferrals

Small business owners and homeowners have been struggling to stay afloat and exhausted by the emotional ups and downs of a global pandemic. It’s not something we plan to deal with in our lives but remember there is support available to help you get back on track and you don't have to go through this alone. 

Back in July, banks announced new support measures to make sure businesses and individuals are financially set up to cope with extended lockdowns around the country. 

The ABA stressed that these measures would be available to all small businesses and home loan customers impacted by the lockdowns, regardless of industry or geography. 

"Customers can rest assured that if they need help, they will get it," said the ABA's chief executive Anna Bligh.

"Banks also stand ready to support larger businesses and they will be assessed on a case-by-case basis."

Since early July, almost 24,000 people have accessed a range of support measures offered by their banks and 64% of these have opted to defer their loan repayments for up to 3 months. 

As of August, more than 20,000 customers have received assistance during recent lockdowns including over 15,000 repayment deferrals on home and business loans. Growth in housing loan deferrals slowed while growth in business loan deferrals grew from 93% to 108% during the first week. 

Support has been provided in response to many calls for assistance from businesses and families in NSW. So housebound and with few job opportunities, NSW home loan deferrals account for more than two thirds of total deferrals. Almost 80% of deferred business loans also come from this state. 

What financial support is on offer?

Business banking repayment deferrals

  • Up to 3 month repayment deferrals, with loan terms extended accordingly
  • Offered to all small business customers (business lending less than $3m and a turnover of less than $5m), which includes up to 98% of small businesses
  • Only for loans in good standing (i.e. repayments up to date or engaged in a payment program with their bank)

Everyday banking support

  • Refunds of merchant terminal fees for up to 3 months
  • Waiving of fees and notice periods on Cash Deposit and Farm Management Deposit accounts for up to 3 months

Home loan support

  • Range of support measures, including deferrals on a month by month basis
  • Available to both individual and business customers.

Advice for clients during the lockdown

Banks are only just scraping the surface. The number of struggling borrowers is likely to continue rising as lockdown continues. So it’s really important that brokers also reach out to existing clients to get acquainted to what's going on in their worlds, whether they are struggling to make repayments.

It’s an opportunity for brokers to give timely advice to clients who have been financially hit by the lockdown and let them know what government support or lender support is on offer. No one should have to deal with the ongoing challenges of the pandemic alone. 

For clients who haven’t been financially impacted, you can work with them on a strategy that could include larger repayments, an offset account or both so they can put in extra funds and pay the mortgage off faster. 

For prospective clients who are financially secure, now might be a good time to buy a property due to fewer buyers in the market. If they’re homeowners, you can suggest refinancing to reduce their expenses and get them into a better financial position. 

The state of the world can be overwhelming but there are many ways you can lend a helping hand, put your talents to good use and get your name on top of the customers' minds. 

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