FLood relief packages
Tuesday, 06 March 2012 13:04

The Australian Bankers' Association (ABA) said banks have offered emergency relief packages to assist people affected by the floods in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and the ACT.

Individual banks have announced assistance packages to help families, business people, farmers and individuals in the communities adversely affected by the flood waters.

Steven Münchenberg, Chief Executive of the ABA, said: "Banks understand this is a difficult and stressful time for those households and businesses in rural communities who are facing financial problems as a result of the floods."

"The banks' emergency packages provide practical help by giving immediate financial relief to those in most need of assistance and improving prospects for maintaining viable businesses."

"Banks are also encouraging customers who are having difficulties servicing their loans to make contact. Your home or business may not be flooded out but sometimes customers' employment or businesses can be disrupted because of the effects of the floods."

Mr Münchenberg said: "To help ease financial worries, customers should talk to their banks about applying for assistance which could include deferring home loan repayments for a specified time period, accessing savings early in term deposits without penalties or getting a temporary credit limit increase." 

"I would like to encourage people who are doing it tough to contact their bank as soon as they can to discuss how their bank can help."

Assistance provided to people will vary according to individual circumstances but could include: 

deferring home loan repayments;restructuring business loans without incurring fees;  giving credit card holders an emergency credit limit increase;refinancing personal loans at a discounted fixed rate;waiving interest rate penalties if term deposits are drawn early; anddeferring repayments on equipment finance facilities.

Mr Münchenberg said: "Each and every financial situation will be different, but be assured bank relationship managers will talk to customers about strategies to deal with the floods. If you have been affected, contact your bank to see what help they can offer."