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Banks extending a lifeline to help Aussies

Never in many Australian's wildest dreams (or nightmares) could they have imagined being in a situation where they would lose their jobs overnight. Nor have their job security threatened, incomes reduce or employment or businesses disappear completely.

Unlike anything any of us have ever seen before, as Australians together confront a world fighting a battle against the spread of Covid-19, many banks have stepped up to offer a lifeline to help many Australians with their home loan repayments.

What are many banks offering?

As a broker, the message I am hearing loudly from lenders, both big and small, is that many are allowing their customers to defer home loan repayments for up to 6 months. Home loan repayments are, for many Australians, their single largest expense each month. By deferring home loan repayments, it avoids customers going into arrears on their home loans and importantly, allows Australians who suddenly have little or no income coming in to avoid having to find a way to meet their home loan repayments.

Other measures that I have seen include lenders offering customers the option to reduce payments to the minimum repayment amount, waiving loan fees or charges particularly when accessing redraw (if applicable) or allowing a change from principle & interest to interest only payments (often mainly reserved for investors only).

These bank initiatives are certainly only one piece of a much larger puzzle. I encourage all home loan customers who find themselves in financial distress to speak to their bank to discuss their options.

Find yourself in isolation?

I understand many people in the community are self-isolating, quarantined or practising social distancing. Many people will be looking into financial uncertainty. I am available to assist in managing this. You do not need to leave your home to get a loan or financial advice. My business has technology platforms to enable us to do business efficiently without the face to face interaction.

These are unique times we find ourselves in. Without a doubt we are all confronted by this. Let's do everything we can - everything we can - to get through this together.

Bernadette Leahy

Authorised Mortgage Consultant

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