Westpac helping those in need

One of the four major Australian banks announced yesterday that they would be committed to paying off one year of mortgage for customers who lost their homes in this season’s horror bushfires.

As part of the initiative, Westpac will pay the customer’s mortgage repayments for one year (up to $1,200 per month).

The Bushfire Recovery Support Package also includes interest free home loans for consumers who need to rebuild, low-interest loans for businesses, and an additional $2.5 million allocated for bushfire emergency cash grants taking the total to $3 million.

Westpac Group acting chief executive Peter King said the major bank is committed to helping customers and the communities recover now and over the longer term.

“These initiatives are designed to provide practical, on the ground support for our customers, our people and for those who are caring for affected communities,” he said.

“In times of such unprecedented devastation, we want customers and communities to know we’re here to help alleviate financial concerns so they can rebuild their lives, homes and businesses.”

Including the existing measures in place at the major bank, Westpac’s Bushfire Recovery Support Package will include the following:

Retail customers

  • For mortgage customers who have lost their principal place of residence due to the bushfires, Westpac will cover the customer’s mortgage repayments for one year (up to $1,200 per month)
  • Interest free home loans for customers to cover the gap between insurance payouts and rebuilding costs, approved subject to our credit criteria ($250 million allocation)
  • Up to $2,000 in emergency cash grants for customers whose properties have been destroyed or damaged by the bushfires

Business customers

  • A grant of up to $15,000 to assist small businesses with the cost of refurbishing premises that have been destroyed during the bushfires
  • 2.83% three-year variable rate, low-interest rebuilding loans for business customers, up to $1 million individual loans ($1 billion allocation)
  • Up to $2,000 emergency cash grants for customers whose business premises have been destroyed or damaged by the bushfires
  • No foreclosures for three years on any farming businesses in the affected areas
  • Fast tracked credit approvals to provide short-term assistance

The community

  • An additional $2.5 million to provide emergency cash grants to customers in affected towns and regions, bringing the total available to $3 million
  • $500,000 donation to Financial Counselling Australia to provide financial counselling services to people in affected towns and regions to help them through the recovery and rebuild
  • Volunteer firefighters nationally can access the Disaster Relief Package
  • Appointing a new role, CEO, Bushfire Recovery, to lead the response. This includes mobile customer support teams for localised decision making.