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Media releases

Westpac opens emergency banking services in Tully and Cardwell


7 February 2011

Westpac has set up an emergency banking relief service in Tully to enable people affected by Cyclone Yasi to cash emergency relief cheques and perform basic banking transactions.

The emergency banking service is available for anyone to cash relief cheques issued by the Queensland Government, not just Westpac customers. The Tully emergency banking relief service is now open at ‘The Igloo’ at the Tully Showgrounds.

A second emergency banking relief service has been established in Cardwell.

Westpac staff at these emergency centres can also field enquiries from Westpac customers about their mortgages, credit-card limits and payments, and generally help as much as possible.

“Westpac is there to do whatever it can to support Queensland residents in their time of need,“ Westpac Queensland State General Manager Retail Andy Fell said.

“We also want to give our customers peace of mind, which is why we are taking emergency relief banking services out to them.

“Westpac staff on the ground at the emergency centres can help victims of the cyclone get access to their money, cash emergency-relief cheques or just assist in any way that they can,” Mr Fell said.

Following Cyclone Yasi and the earlier Queensland floods, all but two branches – in Tully and The Willows in North Queensland – have been reopened.

Westpac has also expanded the range of assistance available for cyclone victims to match the extended package which was offered to the victims of the recent Queensland floods.

Westpac’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 support for business and consumer customers includes:

  • 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

Westpac has also earmarked funding of $2 billion that could be utilised by its disaster-affected 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 Home and Contents Insurance

Westpac Home and Contents Insurance customers can also rest assured that they are automatically covered against natural disasters, including cyclone damage including ‘storm surge’ or ‘action of the sea’, while flood coverage includes both riverine flooding and flash flooding.

Westpac customers who wish to utilise these special relief measures or need assistance with lost credit cards or insurance should contact Westpac on 132 032 for consumers or 132 142 for businesses, or Westpac Assist on phone 1800 067 497or their local Bank Manager.