Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Christchurch earthquake: Banks offer loans, aid with repayments

Banks are offering emergency loans, mortgage repayment freezes, fee waivers on term deposit withdrawals and overdraft extensions. Photo / Richard Robinson
Banks are offering emergency loans, mortgage repayment freezes, fee waivers on term deposit withdrawals and overdraft extensions. Photo / Richard Robinson

Banks are extending special help to homeowners, insurance clients and their own staff, including allowing mortgage repayment suspensions for earthquake victims.

The banks are offering emergency loans, mortgage repayment freezes, fee waivers on term deposit withdrawals and overdraft extensions.

BNZ will suspend repayments for up to 180 days, waive early withdrawals from fixed deposits for emergency cash, offer special $20,000 temporary overdrafts for up to 180 days and wipe out penalty interest fees on late credit card payments. Credit limits have been relaxed.

Worried customers with home, contents, car and boat claims are asked to call the bank's earthquake response claims team on 0800 24 88 88 or 04 903 2745 or email cpcearthquake@iag.co.nz.

"People with house and contents insurance will automatically have the Earthquake Commission's cover.

The EQC's insurance cover applies to holiday homes as well as to permanent homes. Once the claim is lodged with EQC, they will outline the next steps in the claims process," BNZ advises.

Staff can call an employee assistance programme helpline on 0800 327 669 for support for them and family members.

ANZ is offering special support packages and allowing suspension of repayments on all loans including credit cards for up to three months with interest capitalised. It is waiving fees for restructuring finances and not charging for early withdrawal of lump-sum term deposits.

The bank will also consider temporary adjustments to customers' lending limits to help them cope with unexpected costs and provide a temporary interest-free overdraft to business banking, commercial and rural customers. It has shortened the approval process to speed decisions.

ANZ wants quake victims to call 0800 269 296.

Westpac is offering personal customers access to an emergency overdraft facility for a 45-day term at a special interest rate of 5 per cent, with a further 45-day term if required. It is waiving establishment fees. It is also extending a 90-day mortgage repayment holiday but says interest will continue to be added for the repayment holiday period. It is allowing no early repayment costs for customers who have had a home destroyed or have suffered major damage and wish to repay their fixed rate home loan. It also offers no adjustment fees for customers wanting to restructure a home loan.

Westpac is offering business customers access to a temporary overdraft facility of $20,000 for up to 90 days at 5 per cent with no application fees or penalty interest.

Kiwibank home loan and business banking customers affected by the quake are offered a three-month repayment holiday on their loans, including business banking loans, $1000 overdrafts or an increase of $1000 to existing personal overdrafts or revolving credit facilities. Kiwibank home loan customers can call 0800 222 224 for assistance.

ASB has a 90-day overdraft facility of up to $10,000 for home loan customers and up to $2000 for other personal customers at the special variable rate of 1.25 per cent below ASB's housing variable rate. It is also allowing access to term deposits without break fees and the chance to suspend home loan payments for up to three months, though interest will still be added.

The number to call is 0800 272 007 between 8am and 8pm.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf02 at 29 Nov 2014 14:51:57 Processing Time: 342ms