Westpac, loans.com.au pledge home loan support for bushfire victims

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on January 15, 2020
Westpac, loans.com.au pledge home loan support for bushfire victims

Photo by Rishab Lamichhane on Unsplash

Australians affected by the devastating bushfires may soon receive some welcome financial relief.

Westpac customers whose homes have been destroyed won't have mortgage repayments to worry about, with the big four bank pledging to cover repayments for one year, up to a limit of $1,200 a month. 

It's part of the bank's bushfire recovery support package which will also see customers offered interest-free loans to cover the gap between insurance payouts and rebuilding costs. 

Westpac acting chief executive Peter King said the bank was committed to helping customers and the community recover from the ongoing crisis. 

"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," Mr King 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."

The support package also includes $250 million in interest-free home loans to help customers rebuild their homes. Customers whose homes have been damaged or destroyed can go into their local Westpac branch and pick up $2,000 in emergency cash. 

Other major lenders, including the big four banks, have all announced a range of relief measures for borrowers whose homes have been damaged or destroyed in the fires. Each of the big four banks have pledged at least $1 million in bushfire donation packages. 

NAB will suspend home and personal loan repayments, and has pledged $5 million for bushfire recovery efforts. 

ANZ's assistance includes suspending repayments on loans, including credit cards, for up to three months, as well as temporary interest rate relief for customers experiencing "extreme financial distress".

Online lender loans.com.au is donating $2,000 to each customer who has lost their home and will provide a break from mortgage repayments.

"We are in close contact with our customers who have lost their homes, and are working through different processes, including our hardship procedures to give them a break from their mortgage repayments. At the moment we are aware of three customers who have lost their homes due to the bushfires," loans.com.au managing director Marie Mortimer said.

The table below displays a selection of variable-rate home loans on offer, featuring a low-rate pick from each of the following three categories: the big four banks, the top 10 customer-owned banks, and the larger non-banks.

Lender

Variable
More details
UNLIMITED REDRAWS
UNLIMITED REDRAWS

Smart Booster Home Loan Discounted Variable - 2yr (LVR < 80%)

    Variable
    More details
    100% FULL OFFSET ACCOUNTNO APPLICATION FEE OR ONGOING FEES
    • No upfront or ongoing fees
    • 100% full offset account
    • Extra repayments + redraw services
    100% FULL OFFSET ACCOUNTNO APPLICATION FEE OR ONGOING FEES

    Low Rate Home Loan - Prime (Principal and Interest) (Owner Occupied) (LVR < 60%)

    • No upfront or ongoing fees
    • 100% full offset account
    • Extra repayments + redraw services
    Variable
    More details
    REFINANCE ONLY
    • A low-rate variable home loan from a 100% online lender. Backed by the Commonwealth Bank.
    REFINANCE ONLY

    Variable Rate Home Loan – Refinance Only

    • A low-rate variable home loan from a 100% online lender. Backed by the Commonwealth Bank.
    Variable
    More details
    AN EASY DIGITAL APPLICATION
    • No ongoing fees - None!
    • Unlimited additional repayments
    • Easy online application, find out if you're approved quick!
    • Redraw- Access your additional payments if you need them
    • Use the app to get loan insights to help you pay off your home loan faster
    AN EASY DIGITAL APPLICATION

    Neat Variable Home Loan (Principal and Interest) (LVR < 60%)

    • No ongoing fees - None!
    • Unlimited additional repayments
    • Easy online application, find out if you're approved quick!
    • Redraw- Access your additional payments if you need them
    • Use the app to get loan insights to help you pay off your home loan faster
    Variable
    More details
    • Low rate home loan with added benefits, add offset for 0.10%
    • Save thousands & make an environmentally conscious choice on your loan for homes less than 12 months old
    • Get a 7.0 star NatHERS rating or higher for up to 1.59% discount on your variable rate home loan T&Cs apply

    Green Home Loan (Principal and Interest)

    • Low rate home loan with added benefits, add offset for 0.10%
    • Save thousands & make an environmentally conscious choice on your loan for homes less than 12 months old
    • Get a 7.0 star NatHERS rating or higher for up to 1.59% discount on your variable rate home loan T&Cs apply

    Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, fixed, principal and interest (P&I) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. However, the ‘Compare Home Loans’ table allows for calculations to be made on variables as selected and input by the user. All products will list the LVR with the product and rate which are clearly published on the Product Provider’s web site. Monthly repayments, once the base criteria are altered by the user, will be based on the selected products’ advertised rates and determined by the loan amount, repayment type, loan term and LVR as input by the user/you. *The Comparison rate is based on a $150,000 loan over 25 years. Warning: this comparison rate is true only for this example and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. Rates correct as of August 15, 2022. View disclaimer.

    Government pledges extra $50 million 

    The Morrison government, which has been heavily criticised for its handling of the bushfire crisis, has announced an extra $50 million for the charity sector to help those affected.

    The assistance package will be used for food vouchers, support services and financial assistance to be administered by charities and made "immediately available" to those who need it most.

    Australian Council of Social Service CEO Cassandra Goldie welcomed the funding, but said more will need to be done in the long term. 

    "This funding supports frontline community services to urgently get emergency funds to people impacted for immediate needs," she said.

    "We continue to call on the government to increase its Disaster Relief Payment, which at $1,000 per person has not been increased in 14 years, and the Disaster Recovery Allowance, set at the same rate as Newstart - $40 a day, which is not enough for anyone to get by. The ongoing impact of the bushfire crisis is set to include rising food prices, which will make trying to get by on Newstart even more unbearable.

    "We're also calling on the Government to work with people impacted by bushfires who were unable to afford insurance and to establish a review into affordable insurance for people on low incomes. As extreme weather events increase in Australia due to climate change, insurance premiums are escalating and too many people, particularly people on low incomes, find themselves under-insured or not insured."




    Disclaimers

    The entire market was not considered in selecting the above products. Rather, a cut-down portion of the market has been considered. Some providers' products may not be available in all states. To be considered, the product and rate must be clearly published on the product provider's web site. Savings.com.au, yourmortgage.com.au, yourinvestmentpropertymag.com.au, and Performance Drive are part of the Savings Media group. In the interests of full disclosure, the Savings Media Group are associated with the Firstmac Group. To read about how Savings Media Group manages potential conflicts of interest, along with how we get paid, please visit the web site links at the bottom of this page.

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    author-avatar
    Emma Duffy is Assistant Editor at Your Mortgage and  Your Investment Property Mag, which are part of the Savings Media Group. In this role, she manages a team of journalists and expert contributors committed to keeping readers informed about the latest home loan and finance news and trends, as well as providing in-depth property guides. She is also a finance journalist at Savings.com.au which she joined shortly after its launch in early 2019. Emma has a Bachelor in Journalism and has been published in several other publications and been featured on radio.

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