Bendigo Bank offers further COVID-19 measures to support customer recovery
Bendigo Bank, Australia’s fifth largest retail bank, has announced further support for customers financially impacted by COVID-19.
Under the next phase of support, unveiled by the Australian Banking Association (ABA) today, the Bank’s consumer and business customers, who are experiencing reduced incomes or extended financial difficulty, may be eligible for a further deferral period of up to four months. Customers who can restart paying their loans will be required to do so at the end of the six-month deferral period.
The Bank will continue to work closely with customers during their deferral period. For customers eligible for a further deferral, the Bank will ensure appropriate and tailored arrangements are agreed with the customer prior to the deferral period coming to an end. At the end of the deferral period, where customers cannot resume making repayments at the amount previously required, alternative arrangements will be worked through with each customer.to restructure or vary their loan. This could include extending the length of the loan, converting temporarily to interest only payments, consolidating debt or a combination of these measures.
Taking a personalised approach to determining the best long-term solution ensures better outcomes for customers, said Managing Director, Marnie Baker.
"Ultimately, we want to support customers to make full, regular loan repayments and it's in their best interests to do so as soon as possible, so they can strengthen their financial wellbeing.
"Through the onset of COVID-19, we contacted our business customers to understand any impact on their operations and let them know about the support offered by the Bank. We are currently undertaking a check-in process with consumer customers that have accessed a repayment arrangement due to COVID-19 to assess what further support they need and to better understand their current circumstances given the impact of the pandemic. We know that a tailored approach with each customer achieves more meaningful results for their specific circumstances.
"It's a really difficult time for many of our customers and we want to help those who continue to do it tough to minimise the impact that comes with unexpected events such as COVID-19, and the difficulty of financial hardship," said Ms Baker.
Customers who recommence repayments on their existing loan or enter a new repayment arrangement will not have their credit report impacted, provided they meet the new repayment arrangements. Customers who are provided with an extended deferral period will also not have their credit report impacted.
The support offered under the next phase follow the Bank's measures first announced in March for consumer and business customers affected by COVID-19. More than 20,000 of the Bank's customers have accepted dedicated support to help them manage the economic impacts of the pandemic.
"In the same way we have provided and continue to provide support to those affected by natural disasters, the Bank and its Community Bank partners will continue to support the recovery of customers and communities and adapt, where required, how we invest profits into communities to meet new and evolving local needs as a result of COVID-19. We said at the start of this pandemic that we're here for our customers and their communities and this longstanding commitment continues,” Ms Baker concluded.