Banks offer financial support in Cyclone Debbie aftermath

New Zealand banks are allowing customers affected by the recent devastating floods to pause their mortgage repayments while home owners deal with the aftermath.

After battering North-East Australia at the end of March, the remnants of Cyclone Debbie hit New Zealand in early April, causing severe flooding in many regions.

About 1600 residents from Bay of Plenty’s Edgecumbe evacuated, after the Rangitaiki River breached stopbanks, according to a 8 April Radio New Zealand report.

The flooding continues a series of downpours and wild weather in New Zealand this year.

Banks have since been stepping in, offering “relief packages”, particularly to support those with home loans. However, customers will need to contact their banks to see exactly what support they are eligible for.

BNZ chief executive Anthony Healy says the bank is aware customers will have different needs following the floods.

“If you are a BNZ customer and you need assistance, please get in touch with us and we will do our best to help.

“We know that our customers need to first look after themselves, their families and their businesses and that financial flexibility means different things to different people,” Mr Healy says.

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BNZ offers financial assistance options

Personal and business customers can apply to the bank for financial assistance options, such as the ability to:

  • Access temporary overdraft facilities or credit limit increases.
  • Restructure business loans without incurring fees.
  • Suspend loan payments on business and home loans.
  • Access term deposits early, and without penalty.

Westpac provides range of financial support

Westpac is offering financial support for home owners, including the option to stop home loan repayments for up to three months, or a temporary reduction in mortgage repayments (interest only or an extension to loan terms).

The bank will also provide financial assistance to other customers affected by the floods, including temporary overdrafts and immediate withdrawals for term deposits and notice saver PIE accounts.

ANZ announces financial relief package

A number of ANZ customers have had property loss or damage as a result of severe weather in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie, managing director of retail and business banking Antonia Watson says.  

“We are thinking of all that have been impacted.

“We’ve been monitoring the impact of the flooding and have activated our financial relief package.

“We hope this is of help as people recover from this devastating flooding,” Ms Watson says.

ANZ’s financial support includes:

  • The ability to apply for overdraft facilities.
  • Waiving fees associated with restructuring business loans or applying for new home or personal loans
  • Access to term deposits without the usual stand-down period.
  • Affected customers with home and contents insurance may be eligible to receive assistance including emergency funds and temporary accommodation; and
  • Waiving life insurance premiums for up to three months for impacted customers of ANZ or its insurance group OnePath.

ASB’s  emergency relief package

ASB is also offering its customers financial support following the flooding. According to the New Zealand Herald, support will be tailored to individual customers’ needs.

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