Small Business

Australian banks will defer loan repayments for small businesses affected by COVID-19 for six months.

Assistance can  include:

  • A deferral of scheduled loan repayments
  • Waiving fees and charges
  • Interest free periods or no interest rate increases
  • Debt consolidation to help make repayments more manageable.

Mortgages

– Australian Banking Association has links to Covid-19 help for each bank. To go straight to your bank go to the Australian Banking Association’s page here and click on your bank’s logo.

– Bank responses regarding Covid-19 have also been put together in a document you can download.

Commonwealth Bank

For their home loan customers who have been granted a six month home loan deferral, they will make a one-time payment to offset interest on interest costs during the six month deferral period. 

They also understand some of their customers have been unable to make their minimum credit card repayments in March. They’ll automatically be refunding the late fees and interest for any customers who were unable to make their minimum repayment in March.

AFCA

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) advises that it may be able to offer support and information to individuals financially impacted by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19). They have established a significant event support hotline for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic: 1800 337 444.

More information on AFCA’s response to COVID-19 is available here.

AFCA gives more time to resolve complaints

AFCA has been working with ASIC over the last couple of weeks to get authority to extend the post internal dispute resolution (post IDR) refer back period, to give financial firms more time to respond to complaints lodged with us. The post IDR refer back timeframe will now be 30 days, which provides an additional 9 days for complaints (where matters have not been through IDR members will still have the 45 days as before). 

This will allow more time for our members to resolve complaints using their internal dispute resolution practices, and where that can’t be achieved, it will provide them with more time to consult and communicate with their customers. It gives the parties more time to locate the necessary documentation and information needed for AFCA to consider the matter. These changes will operate for six months and will be reviewed and adjusted as appropriate.

This time extension will come into effect immediately.

It remains the position that where a customer has brought a financial difficulty matter to AFCA and a Court proceedings have not yet been issued, then the financial firm is prevented from doing so whilst the matter is with AFCA. Where proceedings have been issued, but the Court has not made a judgement then again those proceedings should be stayed whilst AFCA considers the matter.