[BF] Waived Mortgage Repayments For 1 Year (Up to $1200/mth), Interest Free Home Loans for Bushfire Affected Customers @ Westpac

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Westpac Group covers mortgage repayments, provides interest free and discounted loans to bushfire affected consumers and businesses

13 January 2020

Westpac Group has today announced additional support for customers and communities impacted by ongoing bushfires across Australia.

For Westpac mortgage customers who have lost their principal place of residence due to the bushfires, Westpac will pay the customer’s mortgage repayments for one year (up to $1,200 per month).

The Bushfire Recovery Support Package also includes interest free home loans for consumers who need to rebuild, low-interest loans for businesses, and an additional $2.5 million allocated for bushfire emergency cash grants taking the total to $3 million.

Peter King, Acting Chief Executive, Westpac Group, said Westpac is committed to helping customers and the community recover now and over the longer term.

“These initiatives are designed to provide practical, on the ground support for our customers, our people and for those who are caring for affected communities. In times of such unprecedented devastation, we want customers and communities to know we’re here to help alleviate financial concerns so they can rebuild their lives, homes and businesses,” Mr King said.

Together with existing measures in place, Westpac’s Bushfire Recovery Support Package will include the following:

Retail customers

  • For mortgage customers who have lost their principal place of residence due to the bushfires, Westpac will cover the customer’s mortgage repayments for one year (up to $1,200 per month)
  • Interest free home loans for customers to cover the gap between insurance payouts and rebuilding costs, approved subject to our credit criteria ($250 million allocation)
  • Up to $2,000 in emergency cash grants for customers whose properties have been destroyed or damaged by the bushfires

Business customers

  • A grant of up to $15,000 to assist small businesses with the cost of refurbishing premises that have been destroyed during the bushfires
  • 2.83% three-year variable rate, low-interest rebuilding loans for business customers, up to $1 million individual loans ($1 billion allocation)
  • Up to $2,000 emergency cash grants for customers whose business premises have been destroyed or damaged by the bushfires
  • No foreclosures for three years on any farming businesses in the affected areas
  • Fast tracked credit approvals to provide short-term assistance

The community

  • An additional $2.5 million to provide emergency cash grants to customers in affected towns and regions, bringing the total available to $3 million
  • $500,000 donation to Financial Counselling Australia to provide financial counselling services to people in affected towns and regions to help them through the recovery and rebuild
  • Volunteer firefighters nationally can access the Disaster Relief Package
  • Appointing a new role, CEO, Bushfire Recovery, to lead the response. This includes mobile customer support teams for localised decision making.

“Anyone who needs assistance or support should contact their local branch, Relationship Manager or call our Westpac Assist team on 1800 067 497 as soon as possible to discuss their circumstances,” Mr King said.

These measures are in addition to more than $1 million already contributed to community groups such as The Salvation Army Emergency & Disaster Appeal, state-based volunteer services, and state bushfire appeals.

Insurance customers

All affected insurance customers should contact Westpac on 1300 369 989 so that we may assist. Claims can be lodged 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling this number.


Mod: Deal title is tagged [BF] which is a tag for all deals related to Bushfire Victims/Volunteers etc. You may choose to deprioritise this tag by using the new front page. Please click 'new' on the OzBargain home page, then 'personalise', then add bf in 'add a title tag', drag the slider to less, then save preference. You may also choose to add other tags to see more/less of those deals (eg your state, other states) or see more/less from particular stores.

For those affected or involved, see the Bushfire Relief event page. You can also use the new front page to prioritise the [BF] tag.

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Comments

  • -2 votes

    To those reporting it as targeted. It’s not targeted just because you have to be a Westpac member.

    • +6 votes

      It is targeted at bushfire affected customers and businesses, but that's what the [BF] title tag is for.

      • -3 votes

        From the guidelines of the targeted tag, i thought targeted seems to be used when the users aren’t in control of the terms and conditions.

        So bushfire affected and being a Westpac member is a known condition. However if Westpac was only randomly offering this to some people that meet these conditions then it’s targeted.

        So stuff like Woolworth Reward points promo emails, BCF $10 vouchers or the MyMaccas app rewards.

        Edit: Or were people reporting targeted to get the [BF] tag? I was assuming you’d report title/description but maybe they were reporting targeted instead.

        • +1 vote

          Or were people reporting targeted to get the [BF] tag?

          I also thought that might possibly be the case.

          However, from the Targeted Offer help page:

          Targeted deals are only available to a selected group of people and not open to the general public.

          Since this deal only applies to a selected (by bushfire) group of Westpac customers it falls under the Targeted Offer banner.

          Whether the condition or criteria for selection is known or not is irrelevant. (Usually it's unknown, but not always.)

          • -5 votes

            @robinCTS: Yeah but this offer is open to the general public. Anyone is able to be a Westpac member and be effected by the bushfires.

            There’s also the section:

            Examples of Acceptable Deals that may be confused for a Targeted Deal

            which basically includes deals like this.

        •  

          Well since everyone seems unhappy, so then a targeted deal is a group within a group that doesn't have its own designated tag?
          I'm just interpreting a mod comment but people seem to disagree.

  • +20 votes

    Great initiative

  • +2 votes

    Have Westpac found an alternative to TravelEx after REvil ransomware attack?

  • +20 votes

    Yes, might be a marketing spin (usually not a fan of bank's warm and fuzzy campaign).

    Genuinely impressed by Westpac on this one. Kudos.

    •  

      Reckon they would done it had there image not been very bad to the general public?

      •  

        I don't think anyone who is capable of receiving the offer will be thinking that

      •  

        Yes. A big part of their branding has been rescuing people/getting them out of trouble (see their TV ads and their rescue helicopter) so this fits.

  • +16 votes

    Thumbs up to Westpac

  • +2 votes

    I'm thinking not many mortgages are only 1200 or lower a month…

    • +16 votes

      I would expect a large portion of the home loans in rural areas would be a much lower amount than in Sydney etc, it’s better than nothing

    • +2 votes

      IMO, bush-fire affected are rural areas , means property prices could be much lower . either-way great initiative from a major bank

    • +1 vote

      300k app.

    • +6 votes

      I’m thinking this will help protect those loans and lower the rate that businesses default on them when they can’t afford to keep paying, after the fires.

      • +5 votes

        Genius. I think you nailed it. Makes them look like a caring bank but in reality protects the value of their books in the long run.

    •  

      Yes, but for a $1600 mortgage, $400 is a lot more manageable than the full. At least, I think thats how it will work.

  • +1 vote

    Great move WBC

  • +10 votes

    Absolutely great work for Westpac for doing this! People will still have something negative to say about it but simply amazing.

  • +1 vote

    Kudos Westpac, will the rest of banks follow

  • +1 vote

    Surely insurance covers these payments?

  • +1 vote

    Better than the other bank's rather misleading offer

  • +5 votes

    This will truly help people who are affected. Well done Westpac.

  •  

    i would be interested to know how much are their loan coverage in the area

  • +1 vote

    I really hope this helps those affected.

  • +3 votes

    Is it a PR move? Of course! Who cares when it's helping people who have lost everything.

  • +2 votes

    This is irresponsible. Who's gonna pay? The other customers.
    Any bush fire victims would already be fully compensated by insurance.

    • +2 votes

      Not as simple as that, not by a long shot. If nothing else, as per other comments, it may well help Westpac's own interests in terms of limiting the number of loans that default.

    • +2 votes

      This is irresponsible. Who's gonna pay?

      It is also irresponsible for people to declare bankruptcy. Who is gonna pay.

    •  

      How are the other customers going to pay exactly?

      "Westpac's full-year profit fell by 15 per cent to $6.85 billion." (https://thenewdaily.com.au/finance/finance-news/2019/11/04/w...)
      Despite the royal commission and the lending slowdown I'd still say that's a pretty healthy profit.

      If you really think this is going to cost them more than $6.85 Billion I think you'd better start weaning yourself off your Newscorp habit.

      • +1 vote

        How do you assess a "healthy profit"? It seems you're looking at nothing except that bottom line figure. Profit figures mean nothing unless you look at the capital employed to achieve that return. Shareholders of Westpac have taken an absolute hammering recently.

        •  

          I'm crying a river for them as we speak.

          • -1 vote

            @CitizenCane: You realise that if you have super you’ll very likely be one of them too right? We are all getting penalised due to poor governance of ASX 200.

            •  

              @kipps: I have no money invested in Westpac, therefore I don't really care about the performance of the banks, I'm more concerned about the effects their policies have on our economy and society.
              Haven't forgotten the royal commission that quickly.

    •  

      But you +voted.
      Interesting.

    •  

      No, this is very clever and well thought out.

      It benefits the people who've lost their homes.

      It also means Westpac doesn't have to foreclose on those properties and try and sell them to recoup losses- properties which insurance companies have already started to absolutely refuse to offer new policies on, and properties which noone in their right mind is willing to buy.

      It's also positive PR for Westpac considering their recent news exposure.

  • +13 votes

    Is it too cynical of me to think this is purely to protect their paper assets? If a customer who has lost a property simply stops paying the mortgage Westpac has to repossess the property and sell it at auction, maybe at a significant loss. If they can avoid this for the sake of $14,400 (cheaper than auctioneer and real estate fees) per property it's a smart move.

    Yes I'm a terrible person.

    • +1 vote

      I'm sure board meetings were had.

    •  

      Haha, I drafted a similar cynical comment, and then deleted it.
      I'm sure it will help a lot of those affected (if they are Westpac customers), but it will obviously also help Westpac in managing their asset book.
      Better for all (except maybe Westpac shareholders) to have mitigation in place.

    • +3 votes

      I'm not sure why anyone would feel guilty about doubting the motivations of the big banks. Westpac made almost $7 billion profit in 2019. They do not need to be tickled with feathers.

    • +1 vote

      You aren't negative. You are calling them out for why they are really doing this. You're a realist.

    •  

      This is what i was thinking. Essentially they'd like you to keep paying the loan on a house that has been destroyed, rather than forfeiting on it. So they'll throw you a $14k incentive to keep paying for the life of the loan.

      The 2.83% loan for businesses offer isnt so great either. Still making a profit.

      •  

        Unlikely to make a loss on it, but decent enough.

        6 mths BBSW @ 0.9957, credit loss on small business portfolio is generally higher than mortgages, risk weighted capital withheld. Very close to cost of funding.

    • +1 vote

      Yes. But they are helping these people in a real way. A lot better than a free burrito in two weeks. This is a good thing from Westpac. Is it good for Westpac? Most likely. Is it a good thing for the mortgage holder? Definitely.

      What do people want? For them to pay the whole mortgage; and only then they can be celebrated?

    •  

      It's a token gesture.
      If a property has been destroyed the customer isn't going to keep the mortgage - they're required to have insurance already (as an ongoing condition of the mortgage), so they'd get a payout and pay off the bank.

  • +5 votes

    I imagine the meeting at Westpacs head office went like this:
    Maybe if we waive home loan payments for bushfire affected customers people will forget we allowed child exploitation and the like to be funded through our bank.

    While it’s a good and decent offer for those affected the ban is still utter trash and this certainly won’t change that.

    • +1 vote

      I can guarantee you Westpac is not the only one, and others went under the radar.

      Not saying it is not wrong. Pointing out sad facts.

      •  

        I think they might be the main culprit.
        Their systems have clearly failed where as other banks have not been found to been skirting the rules.

        Newspapers today have shown more incidents which is not looking good for them.

      •  

        Westpac might not be the only one but AUSTRAC's Concise Statement makes absolutely plain that Westpac's attention was drawn to AUSTRAC's concerns and apparently did not clean up its act. I'd like to see another bank that was stupid enough to have ignored AUSTRAC's concerns.

  •  

    After the shambolic events of Austrac they need some brownie points

  •  

    Based on this announcement, would it make you change to Westpac or stay with Westpac if you were consider changing?

  •  

    This is the least they can do for Australians after allegations in 2019. Glad I'm not with them or any of the big 4.

  •  

    Westpac shares took a huge hit when they were caught late last year and yet to recieve a massive fine (its coming). I guess this is their way of slowly winning back trust/customers/share holders.

    •  

      This initiative by Westpac will hit its bottom line, meaning a potential hit to their shareholders, unless they pass it on to other customers through fees or higher interest rates.
      Or maybe they will recoup it by minimising any salary increases to employees.

      •  

        Doubt it will hit them to hard at all, look at there profit reports, consider what all the brand marketing this offer has generated.

        •  

          Look at WBC's share price. The shares have already tanked in anticipation of a significant fine. We aren't talking about a "potential hit" to shareholders - they've already taken it.

  •  

    so if your house burned down, you don't have to pay your mortgage for a year?

  •  

    Would be better if they put the loan on hold for a year (ie. You have the same tenor remaining in a years time). Sounds like you just lose a year and then your minimum repayments go up. This would cause a bit of financial stress for some families.

    Or are they doing what I described? OP post hasn't mentioned it, but maybe someone has read the T&C's?

    •  

      They are waiving the repayments for 12 months, meaning the amounts are still subtracted from the loan balance but not withdrawn from customer's savings. How is that a bad deal?

    • +1 vote

      It's a saving of up to $14,400. That's a bigger saving than any I've seen on this site outside of that cheap Tesla Model S and occasional Merc Benz gimmicks.

  • -1 vote

    Thanks OP got 12