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Media releases

Westpac commits $50 million and increases its support for flood-affected farmers in North Queensland

20 February 2019

 

In response to the widespread flood damage in North Queensland, Westpac Group has today introduced extra assistance for its agribusiness customers to provide further peace of mind and support their long-term recovery.

 

In addition to an existing comprehensive disaster relief package and a $100 million Drought Relief Fund, eligible1 flood-affected Westpac agribusiness customers can now access this additional support:
 

  • A new $50 million flood relief fund dedicated to helping farmers to rebuild their business, including restocking cattle herds. Loans of up to $2 million are available to eligible customers on an interest only basis (up to three years) and at a heavily reduced variable interest rate (currently 3.58% p.a.)2;
  • The option to defer principal and interest repayments on existing business term loans and equipment finance for up to 12 months3; and
  • Access to a confidential and free telephone counselling service for two years.

 

Steve Hannan, National Agribusiness Manager said Westpac is pleased to offer greater financial certainty to farmers during this difficult and emotional period.

 

“We have been in regular contact with our agribusiness customers since the flooding began to provide personalised and compassionate support. For some farmers, the business impact of heavy stock losses across the region will not be known for up to six months, so it’s incredibly important that we alleviate any financial concerns now and give customers the confidence they need to start rebuilding their lives.

 

“Our Disaster Relief Package remains in place and we are providing a range of immediate and practical options to support our customers. We have also recently extended the $100 million drought relief fund which we launched last year to support farmers and we’re pleased to see customers are taking advantage of these reduced-interest rate loans.”

 

Westpac is accepting public donations at all branches Australia-wide for GIVIT and recently announced a combined $250,000 Westpac donation for the Salvation Army and Foundation for Rural Regional & Renewal (FRRR) which will support the broader region to rebuild communities.

 

Westpac Group is encouraging its employees to give generously to the Salvation Army and other registered charities, and will match employee donations to eligible Australian charities through its Matching Gifts program.

 

MEDIA: For further information please contact Lucy Wilson – 0428 777 704

 

Additional information

 

The Westpac Disaster Relief Package offers various options, including the following:
 

  • Affected customers with Westpac home loans may apply to defer repayments for up to three months;
  • Affected businesses can request loan restructuring without incurring the usual bank fees such as establishment fees and break costs;
  • Affected credit card customers may apply to defer repayments to their card for up to 90 days;
  • Customers wishing to purchase replacement goods may apply for a personal loan at a discounted interest rate with no establishment fee;
  • Westpac may waive interest rate adjustments for affected customers wishing to withdraw term deposits; and
  • Affected Westpac customers with Home and Contents insurance may be eligible to receive assistance under the terms of their insurance policies for emergency accommodation.

 

How customers can ask for help

 

Westpac Agribusiness customers who wish to utilise the special relief measures above should contact their agribusiness relationship manager. All remaining Westpac customers can contact Westpac Assist on phone 1800 067 497, or alternatively call their local Bank Manager.

 

Insurance customers

 

All affected insurance customers can be assured Westpac Insurance* covers flood and storm damage. Customers can contact Westpac to lodge a claim on 1800 198 229 (call centre open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).  

 

Our assessors are on the ground and ready to assist all customers in the worst affected areas. Customers should not put themselves at risk by going into affected areas to retrieve insurance documents or to take photographs. We understand proof of loss may not be possible and we will accept the word of customers in these instances.

 

 

1Eligible customers include current Westpac Group agribusiness customers as at 20/02/2019 impacted by the 2019 flooding natural disaster in North Queensland.
2
Credit criteria applies.
3
During the 12 month deferment of interest repayments, interest will continue to be applied to the loan balance

*Westpac Home & Contents Insurance is issued by Westpac General Insurance Limited (WGIL) ABN 99 003 719 319 (except workers compensation cover where applicable).  Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 (the Bank) arranges the insurance, but does not guarantee the insurance. This information does not take into account your personal circumstances. Terms, conditions and limitations and exclusions apply. Read the Product Disclosure Statement to see if this insurance is right for you.  WGIL is a subsidiary of the Bank.

*Eligibility and credit criteria, terms and conditions apply. This information has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial information into account.  For further information or to request the full terms and conditions please contact Westpac on the numbers stated above. © Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL and Australian credit licence 233714.