Coronavirus: a round-up of the latest COVID-19 support measures from Australian banks

The major banks have outlined support measures for consumers and business affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

In March, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has dropped the cash rate another 25 basis points to 0.25% in response to the coronavirus impacts. 

Since then, lenders have been quite supportive by passing on the full 0.25 per cent cut from the Reserve Bank of Australia during these tumultuous times.

The Big Four have also provided guidance and outlined other measures to support customers directly impacted by COVID-19. These include support for home loan clients and SMEs, as well as adjusted working hours for branches and online.

In this post, we’ve rounded up the key measures banks are offering for customers during COVID-19.  Stay tuned as we update this page in real-time, as well as our post on which lenders will be passing on the rate cuts of March 2020.

Latest update: 17 April 2020

ANZ COVID-19 support

ANZ has committed to providing support to customers and businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Home loan customers

ANZ has introduced a range of options for home loan clients that have been impacted by COVID-19. 

For existing owner-occupiers who are struggling to make repayments, ANZ has launched COVID-19 (hardship) assistance:

  • Homeowners who apply for this can defer their home loan repayments for up to 6 months, with a review at 3 months. 
  • Unpaid interest is capitalised on the home loan during this time. This means any additional unpaid interest that is accrued during this time will be added to the total outstanding loan balance, and needs to be paid back over the remaining loan term.

  • Clients ahead on their home loan payments may be able to access existing redraw balances, or use the funds in their offset or deposit accounts. 
  • Any clients who currently make more than the minimum home loan repayment amount can reduce their monthly payments by calling ANZ.

ANZ have also released new home loan interest rates, including:

  • A two-year fixed-rate of 2.19% p.a. for owner-occupiers who are currently paying principal and interest on their home loan. This is the lowest fixed-rate home loan on record.
  • A decrease in variable interest home loan rates by 0.15% p.a.

Retail and business customers

  • ANZ has passed on the full rate cut of 0.25 per cent to their retail clients
  • ANZ will continue to process home loan applications
  • Customers can access and transact on their accounts 24 hours a day through Westpac Online Banking to access their accounts 24 hours 7 days a week.
  • Additional access to credit (subject to approval)
  • Early access to term deposit without break fee.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia COVID-19 support

Commonwealth Bank has come to the table with a number of different assistance packages for SMEs, home loan customers and more.

Home Loan Customers

Like ANZ, Commonwealth Bank have introduced a range of coronavirus support measures to help homeowners, including:

  • A six-month home loan repayment holiday. During these six months, no repayments are required. Unpaid interest and fees will still be added to a homeowners existing loan balance; however, Commbank will extend the loan term so repayments don’t increase as a result of the deferral period. 
  • For clients who have been granted a six-month home loan repayment holiday, Commbank will make a one-time payment to clients to offset the interest on interest costs charged during the 6 months.
  • Clients can access additional money that may be available in redraw on their current eligible loan, or use the money in their offset accounts.
  • Those who make repayments above the minimum amount can reduce their repayments to the minimum. For eligible direct debit customers, Commbank will automatically reduce direct debit investment/home loan repayment amounts to the minimum required amount. This will come into effect on 1 May. 
  • Reduced interest rates of 2.29% p.a for new 1, 2 and 3-year fixed-rate home loans for owner-occupiers paying principal and interest, effective from 30 March.

Retail customers

  • CBA is dedicated to give access to their customer by having their branches of over 900 branches to remain open for business and to assist with customers that are not familiar with digital banking.
  • Customers can access their accounts 24 hours a day through NetBank or the CommBank App and provide updates to customers including through the CommBank App.
  • CBA will continue to process home loan applications

Small and medium business customers

  • CBA is reducing rates on business loans by 0.25 per cent.
  • Provide additional resources and extended hours for commercial lending teams to process business loan application.
  • Providing a range of support measures to our impacted business customers by deferring repayments and waiving fees.
  • Deferring repayments on a variety of business loan and overdraft products, for 90 days.
  • Deferring repayments on vehicle and equipment finance loans and providing tailored restructuring options that meet individual customer needs.
  • Waiving establishment fees and excess interest on Temporary Excess products.
  • Waiving early redraw fees on business term deposit accounts (including Farm Management Deposit accounts).
  • Waiving merchant terminal fees for impacted customers with CBA payment terminals, for 90 days.
  • Paying Australian suppliers faster

Mr Comyn said, “Commonwealth Bank’s strong financial position means Australians can have confidence in our ability to support the economy in this period of difficulty, through to a time of recovery.”

National Australia Bank (NAB) COVID-19 support

NAB’s COVID-19 support measures cover home loans, as well as dedicated services and assistance for SMEs.

Home loan customers

NAB’s COVID-19 home lending support is fairly similar to those offered by the other Big Four banks:

  • Eligible clients can access a home loan repayment pause for up to six months, which includes a check-in during the pause period. Unpaid interest will be capitalised and added to the loan balance, and customers will need to make higher repayments as a result to repay the loan within its contracted term.
  • Clients who are ahead of their repayments can access redraw facilities, or use money in their offset accounts.
  • Lower interest rates for clients applying for a new Choice Package fixed-rate home loan and are making principal and interest repayments, effective from 25 March 2020. Interest rates start from 2.29% p.a. for 1, 2 and 3-year fixed-rate home loans.
  • NAB has also introduced a special home loan interest rate of 2.19% p.a. on 2-year Choice Package fixed-rate loans for first-home buyers.
  • NAB does not offer interest-only repayments for six months. Clients who are experiencing difficulties in making repayments can instead contact NAB to arrange a repayment holiday or repayment deferral.

Retail customers

  • NAB has passed on the full rate cut of 0.25 per cent to their retail clients
  • NAB will continue to process home loan applications
  • Customers can access and transaction on their accounts 24 hours a day through NAB Online Banking portal to access their accounts 24 hours 7 days a week.

Small and medium business customers

NAB is playing their part in assisting their customers in these uncertain times by offering support services which may include the suspension of repayments or interest, a reduction of the loan amount or the waiving of fees.

NAB has announced measures that primarily focuses on business customer facing cash flow challenges, which include:

  • Deferral of business loan repayments for up to three months
  • Extension of a business loan term by a period of up to three months, where individual circumstances warrant
  • Support to restructure existing business loans, including equipment finance
  • Business credit card deferred repayments.

“We work with all our customers on a case-by-case basis and encourage any customer experiencing hardship – regardless of the circumstances – to contact us to see how we can better support them,” a NAB spokesperson told Mortgage Business.

Westpac COVID-19 support

Westpac has stated that its hardship assistance program would be available to affected customers.

Home loan customers

Westpac has recently announced a $10 billion home lending commitment, to support more Australians into their next home. In addition to this, they’ve also introduced a COVID-19 customer support package, which includes:

  • Any Westpac home loan clients who have lost their job or suffered loss of income as a result of COVID-19 are eligible for a three month deferral on home loan mortgage repayments. At the three month check-in point, clients may be eligible for an additional three month extension after review.
  • Clients who are ahead on their repayments can access redraw facilities. 
  • Direct debit clients who are making more than the minimum repayment amount required can reduce payments to the minimum. 
  • Eligible clients who have had their home loan for more than 12 months can request to reduce repayments by up to 50%, or switch to Interest Only repayments.
  • New, lower interest rates for 1, 2 and 3-year home loans for owner-occupiers making principal and interest repayments. This applies for the Premier Advantage Package on new fixed-rate loans, as well as existing variable rate customers looking to fix their loan. The current 2 year fixed rate is 2.29% p.a.

Retail customers

  • Westpac has passed on the full rate cut of 0.25 per cent to their retail clients.
  • Westpac will continue to process home loan applications.
  • Customers can access and transact on their accounts 24 hours a day through Westpac Online Banking to access their accounts 24 hours 7 days a week.
  • Westpac have also introduced a nationwide plan to help elderly customers access telephone and internet banking, including a specialist call centre available to help people register for and use telephone and online banking. 

Small and medium business customers

Westpac has announced their support to business impacted by COVID-19 by providing the following measures.

  • Fee Free redraws
  • Business loan deferred repayments up to 3 months
  • Option to extend Business Loan term by up to 3 months
  • Restructuring and consolidating loans
  • Access to term deposit funds without reduction in interest rate
  • Deferred Payments for Business Credit Cards
  • Business Financial Counselling access
  • Business credit card deferred repayments

“We encourage any customer with concerns about their loans and repayments to talk to us so we can provide support…Westpac has a dedicated hardship assistance program to help customers experiencing financial stress, including deferring repayments.”

St George Bank COVID-19 support

St George Bank has introduced a range of support measures to assist their clients in managing financial hardship during COVID-19. 

Home loan customers

St. George has pledged $4 Billion in home lending commitment to support Australians with home ownership needs during this difficult time. In addition, they have launched the following measures:

  • Repayment relief for home loan clients who have lost their job or whose income has been affected as a result of COVID-19. St George is offering a three-month deferral on their home loan mortgage repayments, with the ability to extend for a further three months after review.
  • New fixed home loan rates for 1, 2 and 3 years for owner-occupiers making principal and interest repayments with the Advantage Package. The current 2-year This is available for new fixed-rate loans and existing variable rate customers who are looking to fix part or all of their loan.

Retail customers

  • St George has passed on the full rate cut of 0.25 per cent to their retail clients
  • St George will continue to process home loan applications
  • Customers can access all their accounts through St George Internet Banking Portal

Small and medium business customers

St George Bank continues support for the business customers impacted by the Coronavirus situation by providing the following support measures.

  • Fee Free redraws
  • Business loan deferred repayments up to 3 months
  • Option to extend Business Loan term by up to 3 months
  • Restructuring and consolidating loans
  • Access to term deposit funds without reduction in interest rate
  • Deferred Payments for Business Credit Cards
  • Business Financial Counselling access
  • Business credit card deferred repayments
  • Merchant terminal rental fee waivers for up to 3 months

Other alternate short-term solutions you can consider

  • Revisit your existing living expenses to see what discretionary expenses you can temporarily suspend or stop such as gym memberships, brunches etc.
  • Consolidate your debts such as credit cards, personal loans and car loans into your home loan. This will help reduce your monthly repayments because home loans typically has a lower interest rate and a longer term loan.
  • Ask your existing lender to sharpen your interest rate. This can be done quick and easy. If you are unsure, speak to your mortgage broker for more assistance.
  • Refinance your existing home loan to another lender that is offering a lower interest rate and reset your term loan back to 30 years. This will help reduce your monthly repayment (subject to lenders approval)
  • Switch your monthly repayment from principal and interest to interest only
  • Speak to your lender regarding financial hardship or assistance. Most lenders will allow you to defer to your home loan repayments for up to 3 months depending on the lender. Your mortgage broker can help with this inquiry.

We are here to help and if you want to talk to us about your finances, you can submit your inquiry using this form.

** General Advice Warning

The information provided on this website is general in nature only and it does not take into account your personal needs or circumstances into consideration. Before acting on any advice, you should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs and where appropriate, seek professional advice in relation to legal, financial, taxation, mortgage or other advice.

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