Quickest way to get a home loan repayment holiday

 

Tens of thousands of desperate Australians have already sought a home loan repayment holiday as they experience job losses or drastic falls to their income.

The nation's big four banks - ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac - have all recorded huge spikes in stressed customers phoning them up calling for an immediate break on their payments.

The banks have rolled out support packages for customers and businesses owners amid the COVID-19 pandemic as the economy braces for recession.

Among these measures includes mortgage repayment holidays for up to six months by most big lenders, allowing borrowers to have their regular repayments and interest charges paused during this period.

The Commonwealth Bank's group executive of retail banking Angus Sullivan said calls to their hardship line had quadrupled in recent days many of whom had phoned up to request a home loan repayment break.

"We are seeing thousands a day express interest in taking up the freeze of repayments," he said.

"We want to make sure these solutions are supporting Australians going through tough times are used."

CBA has about 1.8 million home loan customers.

Tens of thousands of Australians have sought home loan repayment holidays.
Tens of thousands of Australians have sought home loan repayment holidays.

Mr Sullivan said if customers were forced to wait for a response from the bank given the rush of applicants, they would backdate their home loan holiday from the day the application was made.

Rival bank ANZ has had a 400 per cent increase in calls to its customer helpline while NAB said a new online application for assistance is being lodged every 12 seconds.

ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott said stressed to customers if they phoned up and asked for a home loan repayment holiday they would not be "grilled" and did not need to fill out any paperwork.

"We are not asking questions, if you are a good customer and have made all your payments in the past we are not going to grill you on household expenses," he recently said.

The big banks said their contact centres had struggled to cope with the huge surge in calls and CBA is among the lenders looking to hire extra staff as soon as possible.

"We know there are lots of Australians looking for work," Mr Sullivan said.

"This is an opportunity for us to help other people and other organisations and very importantly to be able to support customers where they are coming to us for need."

Westpac chief executive David Lindberg said they have had "high customer demand for our support packages".

"This means we are experiencing some delays," he said.

"For our customers having trouble reaching us we will get back to you as quickly as we can to discuss the support available."

 

HOME LOAN REPAYMENT HOLIDAY TIPS

• Contact your bank via phone, using their app or online.

• Contact them as soon as possible as you may be forced to wait for a response.

• Repayments and interest charges will be paused for a period.

• During the repayment holiday interest and charges will be added to the loan balance.

• At the end of the loan period the repayment amounts will be adjusted so the amount can be paid over off the remaining loan term.

• The length of the home loan period may be extended to allow payments to be comfortably made.

 

FINANCIAL HELP

ANZ: 1800 252 845

Commonwealth Bank: 13 30 95

NAB: 13 22 65

Westpac: 13 20 32

 

 

sophie.elsworth@news.com.au

@sophieelsworth

 

Originally published as Quickest way to get a home loan repayment holiday


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