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
Advertised rate Comparison rate* Monthly repayment Rate TypeOffsetRedrawOngoing FeeUpfront FeesLVRLump Sum RepaymentAdditional RepaymentsPre-approval

VariableMore details
LIMITED TIME OFFER

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

  • Fast turnaround times, can meet 30-day settlement
  • For purchase and refinance, min 20% deposit
  • No ongoing or monthly fees, add offset for 0.10%
LIMITED TIME OFFER

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

  • Fast turnaround times, can meet 30-day settlement
  • For purchase and refinance, min 20% deposit
  • No ongoing or monthly fees, add offset for 0.10%
FixedMore details
NO UPFRONT OR ONGOING FEES

Basic Home Loan Fixed (Principal and Interest) (LVR < 70%) 3 Years

NO UPFRONT OR ONGOING FEES
FixedMore details
  • Easy, digital application process
  • Market leading app to help you pay off your loan sooner
  • No on-going fees
VariableMore details
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
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
VariableMore details
ZERO APPLICATION FEESFEE FREE OFFSET

Owner Occupier Accelerates - Celebrate (LVR < 60%) (Principal and Interest)

  • We lower your rate based off how much you’ve paid down your loan
  • Automatic rate match
  • No upfront or ongoing fees
ZERO APPLICATION FEESFEE FREE OFFSET

Owner Occupier Accelerates - Celebrate (LVR < 60%) (Principal and Interest)

  • We lower your rate based off how much you’ve paid down your loan
  • Automatic rate match
  • No upfront or ongoing fees
VariableMore details
REFINANCE IN MINUTES, NOT WEEKS

Variable Owner Occupied, Principal and Interest (Refinance Only)(LVR <75%)

  • No application or ongoing fees.
  • 100% free offset sub account.
  • Fast online application, approval in minutes not weeks.
  • Mobile app, Visa debit card, Apple and Google Pay
  • Refinance loans and variable rates only.
REFINANCE IN MINUTES, NOT WEEKS

Variable Owner Occupied, Principal and Interest (Refinance Only)(LVR <75%)

  • No application or ongoing fees.
  • 100% free offset sub account.
  • Fast online application, approval in minutes not weeks.
  • Mobile app, Visa debit card, Apple and Google Pay
  • Refinance loans and variable rates only.

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 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 January 25, 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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