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Westpac provides additional support for Queensland flood customers

 

20 January 2011

Westpac today announced a range of additional initiatives to support customers and local communities impacted by the devastating Queensland floods.

In recognition of the extraordinary nature of the floods and the extent of the damage throughout Queensland, Westpac has expanded the range of assistance available for impacted customers and streamlined processes and resources to ensure support is delivered swiftly and sensibly.

“Having spent the past few days visiting flood-impacted areas like Ipswich and Toowoomba, I am shocked by just how devastating these floods have been on our customers and their local communities,” Westpac Group Executive Retail and Business Bank Rob Coombe said.

“The rebuilding task now facing Queensland will take billions of dollars and many years to complete. With this in mind, I have marshalled additional resources and expertise to ensure that our Westpac customers get immediate and personalised support to get back on their feet.”

Additional support for business and consumer customers

Westpac has moved quickly to implement a range of additional initiatives to complement assistance already provided to flood-affected customers under the bank’s standard Disaster Relief package, which offers a range of assistance including home loan and credit card repayment deferrals for up to three months and the waiving of some fees and charges.

Additional initiatives include;

  • Implementing a practical and common sense approach to assessing all Westpac Home and Content claims. This involves working with customers to itemise their possessions and making it possible for them to still lodge a claim where household items have already been lost or disposed or property access is restricted. Westpac’s policy covers all floods across all levels of cover
  • Contributing $100 toward the cost of electrical safety verification certificates to enable Westpac’s household and business customers to re-enter their premises
  • Offering emergency loan overdrafts to business and consumer customers
  • Offering a special concessional personal loan with no establishment fee
  • Increasing local credit authority levels so that our bankers can make quicker local decisions
  • Streamlining arrangements to expedite customer access to working capital and equipment finance without the requirement for extensive paperwork
  • Providing local financial-education seminars for both business and consumer customers to provide financial and disaster-relief recovery advice
  • Establishing a Flood Relief Helpline and Specialised Business Customer Recovery Centre based in Brisbane, to support those customers who require long-term relationship management
  • Partnering with Melbourne IT to offer every Westpac flood-affected business a free one-page website to inform local Queensland communities of the status of their trading situations
  • Offering both immediate and ongoing personal financial management advice for impacted customers
  • Waiving foreign ATM fees on all Westpac ATM transactions in flood-affected postcodes for a period of four weeks
  • Allocating an extra community volunteering day for all Westpac staff in Queensland to assist in Community rebuilding efforts

Supporting local communities

Mr Coombe said Westpac had also earmarked funding of $2 billion that could be utilised by its customers in Queensland over the next 12 months, a significant proportion of which will be used directly in the rebuilding process. The bank has deployed additional resources and streamlined credit approval processes to ensure these funds can be dispersed promptly to customers.

Westpac has already committed $1 million to support relief and recovery efforts through the Queensland Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal and by allocating funds to be available for local community groups to utilise in the rebuild of local infrastructure and resources.

Westpac will also guarantee an additional $1 million contribution to flood relief efforts by matching all employee donations dollar-for-dollar, with all of its 40,000 employees encouraged to support the bank’s Big Red Heart national fundraising appeal this week.

Westpac branches are taking donations on behalf of the Queensland Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal and have already collected more than $5 million on behalf of staff and customers across Australia.

For further information on initiatives available to Westpac customers impacted by the Queensland floods, please visit www.westpac.com.au or call 132 032.