With large swathes of Australia, particularly the east coast, continuing to battle devastating bushfires, lenders have been offering financial relief and support to impacted customers and, increasingly, providing monetary donations to charities and organisations on the front lines.
The major banks have all announced million-dollar packages (with NAB releasing a $5-million package) this week, while La Trobe Financial has also recently pledged $1 million to bushfire relief and recovery.
Non-major lenders and non-banks have also been donating to those affected, with several new donation packages announced in the past few days.
Resimac to donate $100,000
Of the total, $75,000 will be donated to the Salvation Army Disaster Appeal, with the remaining $25,000 to go to WIRES’ Emergency Fund for Wildlife.
Additionally, the lender has announced a range of support measures for Resimac customers who have been directly affected by the fires, in order to allow them to “focus on more critical matters at this time”.
Resimac chief executive Scott McWilliam said the Resimac team have been united in their wish to support those impacted by the bush fires.
“Our thoughts are with the members of the communities, and the wildlife, who have been impacted by these horrific events,” Mr McWilliam said.
“We hope these donations will help support them to stay resilient through the next few months and assist with their road to recovery.”
ME Bank has announced a $50,000 donation to the Australian Red Cross, to assist with bushfire support efforts and provide critical help to the impacted communities.
Further, ME has committed to matching any further donations made by employees of the bank.
The bank has also offered financial relief for customers directly impacted by the bushfire crisis, with a dedicated support team for assisting customers in need, including those who have lost property, employment, or are facing other financial difficulties after the fires.
Meanwhile, non-bank lender Liberty Financial has donated $250,000 to the Red Cross, to be used to assist emergency response teams with resources and provide a wide range of disaster support measures.
In addition to its initial $250,000 contribution, Liberty is also now calling on its community of staff, family, customers and business partners to support bushfire relief efforts and has pledged to match any community contributions up to a further $100,000.
Liberty chief executive James Boyle said, “The heart of the Liberty team was heavy with the tragedy and devastating destruction caused by the bushfires.”
“We are grateful to all the volunteers and emergency services personnel who are taking great risk to fight fires in order to save lives and homes.
“We know that without their heroic efforts, the toll on our communities and our native animals would be much higher,” he said.
RateSetter has also pledged to donate to the Australian Red Cross’ Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund.
The non-bank lender has committed to donate any establishment fees (or “credit assistance fees”) on all broker-introduced loans drawn down as a result of a RateEstimate lodged at any time on 24 January 2020.
The company said it was hoping to be able to donate around $50,000 in total.
RateSetter CEO Daniel Foggo commented: “Australians have witnessed the devastating impacts of an extreme bushfire season on our communities, environment and emergency services.
“We recognise the extraordinarily harsh conditions so many are facing. We want to do what we can to help relief efforts across the country.”
“In partnership with our brokers, we know this commitment can make a real difference and go some way to alleviating the very real horror Australians are enduring,” he added.
“We hope our brokers join us in our efforts to assist communities affected by this unprecedented crisis. We also encourage brokers to provide information to their clients about our hardship assistance arrangements so we can support our borrowers as they need.”
Suncorp has donated $500,000 to the bushfire relief effort, increasing its original pledge of $100,000.
The funds will be distributed between local emergency service organisations in NSW and Queensland, as well as donations made to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, as well as encouraging local and regional community fundraising efforts.
The bank is also continuing with its commitment to match any employee donations made to bushfire relief organisations, with over $90,000 contributed to date.
The broking industry has also been actively raising funds, with several brokers, lenders and aggregators donating to the Broker Bushfire Appeal, which has since been renamed to the Mortgage and Finance Industry Bushfire Relief fund.
The fund’s target has now been extended to $700,000, with the total (at time of writing) sitting at just over $234,000.