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Rural Bank offers further COVID-19 measures to support customer recovery

8 July 2020 |Media release

Rural Bank has announced further support for customers financially impacted by

Under the next phase of support, unveiled by the Australian Banking Association (ABA) today, the Bank’s agribusiness customers, who are experiencing reduced incomes or extended financial difficulty, may be eligible for a further deferral period of up to four months. Customers who can restart paying their loans will be required to do so at the end of the six-month deferral period.

The Bank will continue to work closely with customers during their deferral period. For customers eligible for a further deferral, the Bank will ensure appropriate and tailored arrangements are agreed with the customer prior to the deferral period coming to an end. At the end of the deferral period, where customers cannot resume making repayments at the amount previously required, alternative arrangements will be worked through with each restructure or vary their loan. This could include extending the length of the loan, converting temporarily to interest only payments, consolidating debt or a combination of these measures.

Taking a personalised approach, with dedicated and necessary support to provide customers with the best long-term solution, will ensure better outcomes, said CEO, Alexandra Gartmann.

“As an agricultural specialist, we continue to support our customers, who play a critical role in Australia’s economy, to manage uncertainty over an extended period. Helping them to be able to make full, regular loan repayments as soon they can, will assist in strengthening their financial wellbeing.

“We have been in contact with our agribusiness customers throughout to understand any impact to their business, providing them with tailored support based on their individual circumstances. Our deep specialist experience, fostered over many decades, means we understand our customers and their challenges and can tailor an approach to drive more meaningful outcomes
for them.

“The news will assist those impacted by COVID-19. Further support is also available to our customers that may be working through other challenges, such as prolonged drought and bushfire recovery,” said Ms Gartmann.

Customers who recommence repayments on their existing loan or enter a new repayment arrangement will not have their credit report impacted, provided they meet the new repayment arrangements. Customers who are provided with an extended deferral period will also not have their credit report impacted.

The support offered under the next phase follow the Bank’s measures first announced in March for customers affected by COVID-19.

“In the same way we have provided and continue to provide support to those affected by natural disasters, we will continue to support customer and community recovery efforts as new and evolving needs caused by COVID-19 unfold. We said at the onset of this pandemic that we’re here for our customers and their communities. This longstanding commitment remains,” Ms Gartmann concluded.

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Bendigo and Adelaide Bank acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of this nation and the Traditional Custodians of the land where we live, learn and work. We pay our respects to Elders past and present as it is their knowledge and experience that holds the key to the success of future generations.

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