More than 100,000 Aussies urgently call banks for help

Exclusive: More than 100,000 cash-strapped borrowers have rushed to get the payments on their home loans stopped in just one week.

Since the rollout of the new financial assistance packages, the nation's largest four banks are among those being inundated by desperate customers seeking help.

Westpac has had more than 44,000 mortgage customers asking for a breather and on top of another 17,000 business customers applying for assistance.

Westpac's group executive of customer and corporate relations Carolyn McCann said the bank had been inundated by calls but said they were working to help customers as quickly as possible.

 

"We're in the process of hiring more staff to help manage volumes," she said.

"While we are encouraging customers who are able to do their banking online to do so, our branches and ATMs remain open."

The nation's largest bank, the Commonwealth Bank, has had about 27,000 home loan payment deferral requests to stop repayments for up to six months.

 

Westpac Bank has struggled to help custoemrs and is hiring more people.
Westpac Bank has struggled to help custoemrs and is hiring more people.

 

ANZ has received about 25,000 mortgage deferrals while National Australia Bank has had 14,500 personal and business customers applying for loan deferrals.

The big four banks are offering payment breaks of up to six months and the end of this period repayments begin again.

The interest during the paused time is also added onto the total loan balance owing.

Aussie chief executive officer James Symond said mortgage brokers had also been inundated by people seeks reprieve on their mortgage repayments.

"Over the past few weeks we've seen an increasingly high volume of customers reaching out to their Aussie broker for guidance and support around hardship options, variations to existing loans and refinancing," he said.

 

NAB has also had applications for loan deferrals.
NAB has also had applications for loan deferrals.

 

"During this unsettling period, it is a good idea to review your home loan arrangements and make any changes required to prepare for any challenges that may come up later on."

Homeloanexperts.com.au's managing director Otto Dargan said his firm had struggled to quickly get through to some financial institutions to help customers seeking urgent assistance.

"We've been unable to get through to one of the major banks for three days now due to high numbers of customers seeking assistance," he said.

"We've been inundated with requests from our customers so it's clear that there are a lot of people hurting right now."

CBA is also reducing repayments for 730,000 mortgage customers to the minimum repayments from May 1 to release up to $400 a month per for each customer - a total of $3.6 billion across their mortgage database.

Customers can opt out of this if they want to keep their repayments at their existing repayment levels.

Home loan rates have also plummeted with three-year fixed rates as low as 2.09 per cent and variable rates at just 2.44 per cent.

sophie.elsworth@news.com.au

@sophieelsworth

 

Originally published as More than 100,000 Aussies urgently call banks for help



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