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. The sooner you contact us the sooner we can try to help you.
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.
Financial Difficulty assistance is available to you, whether you are an individual, joint account holder, guarantor or small business customer. If you have a joint account and you are experiencing financial difficulty, we can assist you individually if you request it.
Phone: 1300 660 115 (ask for hardship assistance)
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’s ‘Financial Hardship’ website provides information about financial hardship, including what you can do if you are experiencing financial difficulties, how your bank can help, where to go for more information 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: http://www.agriculture.gov.au/rfcs
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 the Bank 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?
If you are not satisfied with the response provided, you have the option of referring the matter to the Customer Advocate who will impartially assess your complaint, keep you informed of the progress and provide you with a response.
The Customer Advocate can be contacted by:
- Telephone: 1300 139 572 (+61 3 5485 7919) between 8:30am and 5:00pm Victorian time, weekdays
- Email: email@example.com
- Post/letter: write to Customer Advocate, P.O. Box 480, Bendigo VIC 3552.
Alternatively (or following consideration by the Customer Advocate) you may refer your complaint directly to: