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Quake support you can bank on

By Benn Bathgate

Wednesday 23rd February 2011

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The country's major banks have announced a number of assistance package measures for retail and business customers in the Christchurch region affected by yesterday's earthquake.

ASB is offering customers access to emergency funds with a 90-day overdraft of up to $10,000 for home loan customers and up to $2,000 for other customers at 1.25% p.a. below ASB’s variable housing rate.

The bank is also allowing access to Term Deposit and Term Fund accounts without withdrawal costs, the suspension of home loan payments for three months (though interest will still be added to the loan) and no early repayment fees when repaying a fixed rate home loan, where a home is destroyed or has suffered major damage.

Business banking customers have been offered access to working capital of up to $100,000 at the special variable rate of 1.25% below ASB’s housing variable rate as well as Term Deposit and Term Fund account withdrawals without fees.

ANZ is offering customers a three-month suspension of all loan repayments, including on credit cards, and has offered to waive fees associated with restructuring finances necessary to earthquake impacts.

The bank has also waived early Term Deposit withdrawal costs.

For business customers it is offering a temporary interest free business overdraft, three-month home loan repayment holiday and is waiving Term Deposit fees.

However, the bank did say the measures would be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

BNZ is offering business, agriculture, property and private clients measures including immediate temporary funding of up to $500,000 for infrastructure (at a 5% interest rate), up to $100,000 temporary overdraft limit for 180 days (at 5% interest), the waiving of all fees and margins for temporary funding and is waiving early withdrawal costs for Term Deposits.

Retail and small business customers are being offered loan repayment suspensions for up to 180 days, access to temporary overdraft limits for small business, housing, deposit and credit card customers for 180 days (at 5% interest) and Term Deposit withdrawal fee waivers.

Credit card customers are being offered a temporary credit limit increase for up to 180 days to a maximum of $5,000 or double the existing card limit - whichever is lower (at normal rates and costs).

Westpac is offering measures including temporary overdrafts, repayment holidays on home loans, relief from Term Deposit break costs and a refund of late payment fees.

Kiwibank is offering home loan and business customers a three month holiday on loans and a $1,000 overdraft or increase of $1,000 to an existing personal overdraft or revolving credit facilities.

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