NZ banks donate NZ$3.5 mln for Canterbury earthquake relief; set up loan funds and waive mortgage payments

NZ banks donate NZ$3.5 mln for Canterbury earthquake relief; set up loan funds and waive mortgage payments

New Zealand's big four banks have announced donations to various Canterbury earthquake relief funds and plans to waive mortgage payments and late credit card payments for affected customers. Many will also offer 60 day and 90 day interest free overdrafts and loans for businesses affected by the quake.

Here are the various measures taken by the big four banks.

(Update: Further ANZ and BNZ detail, BNZ CEO's quotes, and Kiwibank, SBS, PGC, NZF and TSB policies added, comments ).

BNZ

The bank has established a NZ$1 million earthquake relief fund, including donations to the Red Cross and Salvation Army.

BNZ is also offering:

  • Up to NZ$500,000 temporary overdraft limit for 90 days subject to insurance
  • Up to NZ$100,000 temporary overdraft limit for 90 days to cover other short term funding
  • Suspension of loan repayments for 90 days
  • All fees and margins waived for temporary funding
  • Waiver of early withdrawl costs for term deposit

Housing and small business loans:

  • NZ$10,000 temporary overdraft for 90 days, subject to insurance, at an interest rate of 5%

Credit card customers:

  • Waive the penalty fees on late credit card payments for customers unable to make a deposit
  • Temporary overdraft facility for 90 days to a maximum of NZ$5,000 or double existing credit card limit, whichever is lower

Customers without lending:

  • Customers who only have deposit funds can access a NZ$5,000 temporary overdraft facility

Five BNZ branches are closed.

BNZ CEO Andrew Thorburn told interest.co.nz from Christchurch that BNZ was also working with Foodstuffs to donate 12,000 bottles of water to customers and food vouchers.

He encouraged business and personal customers to contact their banks if they had any concerns or needed help. "Our bias will be to support people," Thorburn said.

BNZ has around NZ$8-9 billion worth of loans and NZ$3-4 billion worth of deposits in the affected areas in Canterbury. It also had 480 staff. BNZ was working with its insurance provider IAG to ensure claims were processed.

ANZ New Zealand

The bank has donated NZ$1 million to the Mayoral Relief Fund, and together with the National Bank has offered to:

  • Suspend repayments on all loans for three months
  • Waive fees associated with restructuring business loans considered necessary due to earthquake impacts
  • Waive early withdrawal costs for term deposits
  • Consider temporary adjustments to customer lending limits including credit cards to assist them to cope financially with unexpected costs arising from the earthquake

Later on Tuesday ANZ NZ announced that for customers of ANZ and The National Bank:

• No break fees on term deposits for customers needing emergency funds.

• Personal overdrafts: new or increased OD limits up to $10,000, interest-free for 60 days, application/top-up fees will be waived.

• Home Loans: repayment holidays for up to 3 months (all fees waived, available for all customers, choice of loan term or repayments adjusted).

• Personal loans: suspension of minimum repayments for 3 months.

• Credit cards: suspension of minimum repayments for 3 months, no additional interest or fees.

• ANZ Serious Saver $5 withdrawal fee will be refunded (Sept withdrawals).

All affected small business customers

• Small business customers are being proactively contacted where possible.

• Access to emergency short-term lending, interest-free for 60 days.

• All line fees and application fees will be waived.

• Shortened loan approval process to allow rapid local decisions.

• Business loans: three month repayment holidays. Commercial customers

• All commercial customers are being proactively contacted to check on their situation and we are working with them on a case-by-case basis to help them through Six ANZ and five National Bank branches are closed.

ANZ Acting CEO Steven Fyfe said in a statement ANZ had already approved NZ$500,000 in emergency loans and added: "We want to make sure that if they are having trouble with cash flow or other financial needs, that they have the help they need to get through."

ASB

A special customer assistance package for earthquake victims is available with the following features:

  • Additional loans or changes to repayment arrangements for existing home and business loans, without establishment or adjustment fees
  • Capitalisation of interest on home or business loans
  • Waiving of the Early Repayment Adjustment for a fixed rate or business loan where a home or business has been destroyed or suffered major damage as a result of the earthquake
  • Review of credit card repayments, including immediate consideration of requests for emergency credit limit increases
  • A 90 day overdraft of up to NZ$10,000 for home loan customers and NZ$2,000 for other personal customers at the variable housing rate less 1.25 percent (currently 5 percent per annum)
  • Expediting claims to ASB's insurance partner, IAG, for customers seeking help over and above the Earthquake Commission cover
  • Waiving term deposit break fees over the next month for affected customers wishing to access their funds ahead of maturity date

ASB donated NZ$500,000 to the Red Cross Canterbury Earthquake Appeal.

A "Business Restart Loan Fund" of up to NZ$100,000 at 1.25 percent per annum below ASB's housing variable rate is available to assist Canterbury businesses with immediate working capital requirements.

Three ASB branches are closed.

Westpac

A NZ$1 million Westpac Canterbury Care Fund is to be established in partnership with the Salvation Army.

Westpac is setting aside a NZ$1 billion loan pool available to all Christchurch businesses - not only Westpac customers - with all establishment fees waived.

Affected customers can access support initiatives including deferral of home loan repayments, a temporary overdraft and interest only payments on loans.

Currently five Westpac branches are closed.

Smaller banks

Without opening wallets to the same extent as the big four banks, smaller lenders have introduced measures to help customers caught up in the earthquake's aftermath.

Kiwibank

Affected customers, including businesses, can take a three month repayment 'holiday' on their loans, and access a NZ$1,000 overdraft or equivalent increase to an existing overdraft.

Eight PostShop stores and one business banking centre are closed.

Southland Building Society (SBS)

Chief Executive Ross Smith said the bank had both staff and customers affected by the earthquake.

Instead of laying down a fixed policy, SBS would grant managers considerable discretion to suspend loan repayments or give credit to affected customers.

"If necessary they'll bend over backwards to help people get through this traumatic time," Smith said.

Pyne Gould Corporation (PGC)

PGC, on behalf of its subsidiaries MARAC and Perpetual, have given NZ$50,000 to the Christchurch Mayoral Relief Fund.

NZF

Has a Mortgage Relief Package available for customers experiencing financial difficulties because of the earthquake.

TSB

Customers who have a mortgage and are affected by the earthquake can access the following support package:

  • Up to 3 month loan repayment holiday
  • Additional borrowings of up to $10,000 for urgent personal affects
  • Temporary Overdraft of up to $5,000 for additional personal cashflow
  • Application fees waived

The above measures are not available to clients of Welcome Home Loans through Housing New Zealand, although discussions are being held with Housing New Zealand on options available.

Your view? What do you think the banks could or should do to support Canterbury's recovery?

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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2 Comments

In honesty..........I am glad for any relief offered to the affected people of Christchurch and surrounding areas.

To the Banks.........discretion would be genuine act of humility and empathy on these occasions.

However I am obliged to say thank you through gritted teeth. 

Thanks Robert.

TSB have announced its own support package for quake victims including:

  • Up to 3 month loan repayment holiday
  • Additional borrowings of up to $10,000 for urgent personal affects
  • Temporary Overdraft of up to $5,000 for additional personal cashflow
  • Application fees waived

Cheers,

Nick