Well, I thought I had seen it all, that was until the COVID-19 pandemic hit Australia. In late March, restrictions were put in place overnight, people stood down, workers forced to work from home indefinitely, airlines and travel halted overnight, pubs closed!! And essentially, local communities stopped. Countries like Australia aren’t made to just stop.
The stress, anxiety and financial pressures put onto normal Australians, small business and large corporations alike, through no fault of their own, meant anxiety, financial and emotional stress for everyone…. it flowed on to everyone. What a ride so far. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I’ve never seen such a united front either.
This pandemic, it didn’t discriminate. Money or power didn’t protect or provide any special privileges, just ask UK PM Boris Johnson. Once seen as a negative by big business, the tyranny of distance for Australia has seen us along with New Zealand manage it better than the rest of the world.
We have seen Australian banks defer a total of at least $200 billion in loan repayments across 650,000 loans since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. They have stood up and been wonderful corporate citizens to date.
In light of COVID-19, lenders across Australia have allowed eligible small business customers and subsequently home loan, credit card and personal loan customers temporary relief on their loan commitments from mid-March for up to 6 months.
The missed payments will be added to the loan amount over this time and once repayments recommence either the loan term can be increased or the repayments increased if the borrower would like to pay the loan off within the agreed loan term. As these arrangements are made in agreement with the lender themselves, rather than being a missed payment, they are therefore not treated as a missed payment and will not affect a borrowers credit file.
As restrictions now begin to ease, people need a plan B – actionable plans which are effective. We are now 3 months on, in another 3 months loan repayments will again kick in. Right now people need to look at what their world will be like come September/October – look at budgets and cashflow, how will making home loans repayments affect our lifestyle?, how can we trim costs, what will your job or your business look like going forward? All of this can be very daunting, we understand.
We at FirstPoint are committed to providing ongoing support to work with all existing and new clients and their businesses, keeping them well informed and aware of all options available to them during these challenging and uncertain times. If you have any questions, whether an existing client or not currently part of the FirstPoint family, we are here for you to answer any questions you may have.
We mustn’t forget to reference the positives to come out out of COVID-19, from the crystal clear waterways, the reduced pollution, the gratitude shown to our front line workers (of who are always essential!), the support shown to local communities and businesses, that we all learnt to use online programs like Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts to stay connected with our family and friends and perhaps that Australian tourism will have wonderful opportunities moving forward. I think we’ll all remember not to take things for granted – our health, our families, our friends, eating at restaurants, going to the gym, and of course, holidays.
We hope that you all take something from our article. Thanks for taking the time to visit our website, and we hope to chat with you soon! Be that in person, online or on the phone. Stay safe.