Australia

Australians in lockdown have made more than 15,000 mortgage and loan deferrals

Thousands of recently locked-down Australians have deferred repayments of their mortgages or business loans, new data reveals.

More than 20,000 have received hardship assistance during the recent lockdowns, according to the Australian Banking Association.

Some 14,500 have deferred mortgage repayments since 8 July. More than two thirds of them were in NSW.

There have been deferrals of more than 600 business loans in that same period. Almost 80 per cent were in NSW.

Many of the calls for help in NSW are coming from businesses and families who’ve been hit by the shutdown of the construction industry, the banking peak body says.

The appeals for help are growing, but that growth appears to be slowing. The number of customers accessing hardship grew by 73 per cent this week, compared with 153 per cent the week before.

Almost half a million home loans and more than 225,000 business loans were deferred during the peak of the crisis in 2020.

Australian Banking Association Chief Executive Officer Anna Bligh said that banks “stand ready” to help customers under lockdown in southeast Queensland.

Ms Bligh said that help was available to all small businesses and home loan customers who are significantly impacted by lockdowns, no matter where they live or what industry they’re a part of.

“The sooner you talk to your bank, the sooner they can help you find a solution that is right for you,” Ms Bligh said.

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