Banks move into new phase of pandemic support

by Madison Utley19 Feb 2021

While the majority of customers who deferred repayments have resumed regular activity on their loans, Australian banks are entering the next phase of COVID-19 support for those who are still in need of further assistance.

According to data from the country’s largest banks, 91% of deferred loans have resumed repayments, with just 5% of deferred business loans and 13% of housing loans still on pause.

Moving forward, specialised hardship teams will work with customers who are unable to make reduced repayments or restructure their loans.

Australian Banking Association CEO, Anna Bligh, explained that banks are taking a “careful and measured” approach and paying close attention to a customer’s individual circumstances.

To this end, the banks have developed an industry-wide and consistent approach which comes with an online tool to guide customers in financial hardship and improve transparency.

“This is about ensuring that no customer is left in the dark as we emerge from the pandemic. It represents a compact between banks and their customers as we navigate the uncertain path ahead,” Bligh said.

“Customers can expect a thoughtful and compassionate approach, with clear and transparent explanations, regardless of who they bank with. This step-by-step guide will help customers navigate the path out of the pandemic.

“Australian banks will continue to help customers and businesses turn the corner after the pandemic, while providing a fair and compassionate approach to those who can’t get back on their feet.”

The banks developed the site in collaboration with consumer groups including Financial Counselling Australia and the Rural Financial Counselling Service, as well as the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, the Australian Financial Complaints Authority and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.