Westpac rolls out interest-free home loans to assist bushfire victims
Earlier this week, Westpac announced it will be granting additional support to customers who have been impacted by the bushfires currently spreading across New South Wales and Victoria.
As part of its Bushfire Recovery Support Package, the bank has earmarked $250 million to provide interest-free home loans to customers who have lost their homes.
The loans will be subject to Westpac’s credit criteria, and intend to cover the difference between insurance payouts and rebuilding costs.
Westpac has also said it will assist existing mortgage customers whose properties have been destroyed by covering one year’s worth of home loan repayments, capped at $1,200 a month. One-off emergency cash grants of up to $2,000 will also be available.
Peter King, Acting Chief Executive of Westpac Group, spoke of the need to help customers and communities overcome the challenges they currently face and take steps towards recovery.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Business customers to also receive help
Businesses that have suffered property damage will also be eligible for assistance. Westpac has allocated $1 billion to provide low interest loans for rebuilding purposes. The current variable rate on these loans is 2.83% p.a. — much lower than the big four average of 3.44% p.a.
Grants of up to $15,000 will also be available to help small businesses cover the cost of refurbishing premises that have been destroyed by the bushfires. Westpac customers whose business premises have been destroyed could also access up to $2,000 in emergency cash grants.
Finally, the bank has announced that there will be no foreclosures on any farming businesses located in affected areas for the next three years.
Westpac isn’t the only provider taking steps to assist bushfire victims. Browse our guides for more in-depth looks at the emergency relief packages being offered by Australian banks and energy retailers.