Hardship & disaster assistance
Are you experiencing financial hardship?
We understand that your personal circumstances can change unexpectedly.
Natural disasters, unfavourable climatic conditions, unpredictable commodity markets and the day-to-day challenges of life on the land can lead to financial hardship, both at a business and personal level.
If you are a Rural Bank client experiencing debt related stress, we want to help.
If it seems you are constantly struggling to meet repayments, the equity in your enterprise is slipping away or other factors are contributing to your financial hardship, then please contact us.
Our experienced specialists will review your current financial position with you, and explore strategies that may provide some relief, including, where appropriate, temporary financial arrangements.
Phone: 1300 660 115 (ask for hardship assistance)
Rural Bank Limited
Rundle Mall SA 5000
Frequently Asked Questions
What disaster assistance measures are available to customers?
Rural Bank offers a range of assistance measures for our customers who are impacted by natural disasters, extreme weather or unexpected emergency events, such as flood or bushfire. Each of these measures will be implemented in consultation with your Rural Bank Relationship Manager, and taking into account your individual circumstances. If you require or believe you will require assistance, please contact your local Rural Bank representative when you are able to discuss the range of assistance measures that you may be able to access.
The following information lists the measures available to lending customers and addresses some of the questions you may have.
What support is available for Rural Bank lending customers?
You may apply for the following assistance from Rural Bank:
- defer principal payments of your agribusiness term loans for 3 months;
- waive the establishment fee for restructuring agribusines
- defer annual or limit reviews by up to three months.
These measures will be assessed by Rural Bank on a case-by-case basis and made available where we believe you can meet changes to your financial arrangements without incurring further financial difficulty. Where applicable, any external costs, such as registration for new security, will continue to apply.
Who should I contact about my Rural Bank accounts?
Your local Rural Bank representative will be able to assist with your enquiries or contact call Rural Bank direct on 1300 660 115 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What should I do if my property is isolated or cut off from town?
If you are unable to leave or access your property due to the emergency event, please call your local Rural Bank representative as most things can be arranged over the phone.
If you are unable to make contact, or you are unsure of who to call, please phone the Rural Bank Customer Service Centre on 1300 660 115 or email email@example.com.
How can I access my accounts?
Internet and Phone Banking services are operating as normal. Scheduled payments to and from your accounts will proceed as usual unless you advise us otherwise.
Rural Bank is conscious of supporting all impacted clients at this time and will assess each applicant on an individual basis to maintain proper banking standards and importantly ensure that customers do not continue to be adversely impacted by this situation. If you wish to discuss the options available to you, please contact your local Rural Bank representative, call Rural Bank direct on 1300 660 115 or email Rural Bank at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What hardship assistance options are there for Rural Bank clients?
Options may include:
- Debt consolidation, typically resulting in a longer loan with more manageable repayments.
- Consolidating debt to a term loan, effectively extending the repayment period and reducing repayments to a more manageable level at a lower interest rate.
- Waiving term deposit break fees
- Re-aligning cash flow expectations to better match current economic and seasonal circumstances.
Are ‘hardship’ specialists only based in capital cities?
Most clients have a relationship with a local Rural Bank specialist who is there to provide ongoing financial advice and support. They will work alongside our hardship specialists to provide local support and contribute local knowledge.
Where else can I get face-to-face assistance?
Rural Bank works with rural counsellors to assist clients in situations of financial hardship. This support is generally provided in conjunction with the Rural Debt Mediation schemes that operate in most states.
What other resources are available?
There are a number of useful Australian websites that provide information on dealing with financial hardship including:
The ABA site providing information on financial hardship, including how to identify if you are experiencing financial hardship and how to apply for hardship assistance.
ASIC ‘Moneysmart’ website – making the most of your money including personal budgeting.
FCA Website / 1 800 007 007 – The independent Financial Counselling Australia site addressing their services and options.
Rural Financial Counselling – information specific to rural producers experiencing financial hardship, including statutory Farm Debt Mediation:
For information about rural financial counselling and details of your nearest rural financial counsellor, visit: www.agriculture.gov.au/agriculture-food/drought/assistance/assistancerural-financial-counselling-service/counsellors
What is involved in considering my financial hardship claim?
You should contact our specialist staff as soon as possible to arrange an initial interview. Alternatively you can contact your local Rural Bank District Banking Officer, who will coordinate a review of your facility with Rural Bank.
We may ask you to review and update the description, numbers and dollar values involved, to assist the bank to assess your financial position in a timely and accurate manner.
We may also ask for copies of your latest financials, including assets and liabilities, generally being those prepared by your accountant.
What happens if the Bank doesn’t support my claim?
If the Bank is not able to provide support it will convey the reason(s) in writing.
Situations where this may occur include:
- Inability to service the loan in the long term, including inability to meet an adjusted repayment schedule
- An undisciplined approach to previous hardship assistance arrangements.
In these cases the Bank will work with you with a view to achieving a mutually beneficial exit program.
When will you take legal action?
It is the Bank’s preference to avoid legal action.
We will work with you and your financial counsellor to ensure such action is the option of last resort.
What can I do if I am not happy with the Bank’s decision?
Retail customers and most small business owners can lodge their bank related complaint or dispute, at no cost, with the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) for investigation and determination.
Visit www.fos.org.au or phone 1 300 780 808 for more information.