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Getting financial support if you’re affected by coronavirus
Experiencing coronavirus financial hardship? Find out what support our major banks are offering to personal and business customers.
Updated . What changed?
With the economic impact of COVID-19 being felt by Kiwis across the country, you may be wondering what help is available.
Below you can find what measures our major banks and the government have in place in case you suffer financial hardship as a result of the global pandemic. Do note that these initiatives are subject to change but we make updates as soon as we have them.
If you are suffering financial hardship, ANZ has a range of initiatives to help:
- Short term loan repayment relief so you can take a temporary break from your regular payment schedule
- A mortgage repayment holiday of up to six months
- Reduction of credit card and overdraft interest rates
- Loan restructuring to either reduce the repayment amount by increasing your loan term or changing to interest-only payments
- Using personal loan or credit card insurance to cover payments if you have been made redundant, bankrupt or experiencing illness
- Lower interest rates for existing mortgage customers who have a variable rate, plus lower rates for new fixed-rate periods
ANZ is encouraging customers who are concerned about their financial wellbeing and are being affected by COVID-19 to get in touch as soon as possible.
ASB is offering assistance, access and relief support to its personal and business customers. Additionally, ASB is passing on the full OCR decrease to mortgage customers with a variable interest rate. Business customers also benefit from this with lending on the OCR rates.
Depending on your circumstances, ASB has the following initiatives in place for personal customers:
- Access to emergency funds with a temporary overdraft facility
- Waiver of a mortgage application, top-up and restructuring fees
- Access to term investment funds
- Mortgage repayment deferral for up to six months
- Interest-only mortgage repayments
- Access to emergency funds of up to $200,000 through a 90-day temporary overdraft
- Access to up to $200,000 of business working capital
- Early access to term investment funds
- Deferring of loan payments for up to six months or restructuring to interest-only loans
- Extension of loan terms to reduce repayment amounts
- Waiver of loan establishment, re-documenting fees and defaults
- Line fee waivers for six months on business overdrafts, commercial credit facilities and commercial flexible finance facilities.
ASB is inviting customers that are facing difficulty to get in touch by phone or online to discuss their financial wellbeing. ASB has dedicated resources to support adversely affected customers and can identify options to assist you according to your needs.
Both personal and business customers that are being affected financially by the pandemic may be able to take advantage of one of Westpac’s support options. These include:
- Up to six months’ suspension on principal loan payments for personal customers and three months for businesses
- Repayment relief on business credit cards
- Debt consolidation
- Temporary overdraft facility
- Mortgage repayment deferral or mortgage repayment reduction for up to six months
- Reduce to interest-only payments on your mortgage for six months
Westpac is monitoring Covid-19 and will adjust its response plan as needed.
Co-operative Bank invites customers experiencing financial hardship to get in touch as soon as possible.
Customers who come into financial stress are encouraged to get in contact with Kiwibank to discuss what options are available to help you through this difficult time. Some of the options include:
- A mortgage term extension to reduce your repayment amounts
- A mortgage repayment deferral for up to six months
- An interest-only option for mortgages
- A repayment holiday of up to three months for business and personal customers
- Interest-only business term lending for six months
- Early access to Saver or term deposit funds
If you are a BNZ customer and are concerned about meeting your loan repayments, you can contact the bank to discuss your situation and find out what options are available.
Some of the options currently available include:
- Mortgage repayment deferral for up to six months
- Interest-only mortgage payments
- Temporary overdrafts for up to 90 days (personal customers)
- Hardship and short term loans
- Overdraft rate reduction
- Online lending of up to $100,000
- Asset finance funding of up to 100%
BNZ bankers are able to give immediate access to funds to assist with short-term cash requirements. There has also been a 1% cut in the base rate of business overdrafts for SME customers.
The government announced an extension to the mortgage deferral scheme on 17 August, to assist customers that are struggling with repayments. It comes into effect on 27 September 2020 and remains in place until 31 March 2121.
Other financial support
Since COVID-19 first arrived on New Zealand shores, the government has been adapting its response. It currently has the following initiatives in place.
Small business cash flow loan scheme. This is a one-off loan provided to small businesses, but those that can claim it also includes self-employed and sole traders, with applications extended until and including 31 December 2020. Features of the loan include:
- Eligible businesses can claim $10,000
- Plus, $1800 for each equivalent full-time employee
- If the business pays back the loan within a year, it is interest-free
- A maximum term of 5 years with an interest rate of 3%
- Repayments do not need to be made for the first two years.
Leave Support Scheme. The Leave Support Scheme supports businesses paying their workers who need to take leave due to advice given by public health. Businesses no longer need to prove revenue or that their support of an employee was negatively impacted by COVID-19, to qualify for payment.
Income Relief Payment. You may eligible for the Income Relief Payment if you are made redundant due to COVID-19. Check out how to apply at Work and Income.
Tax support. Take a look at the IRD website to see how it can help if you are struggling to meet your tax obligations.
Business Finance Guarantee scheme. The Business Finance Guarantee scheme is there to help small and medium-sized businesses. Banks that are participating can provide new loans, and increase existing loan limits or a revolving line of credit to eligible businesses. The government supports banks by taking on up to 80% default risk on the loan. Businesses still need to repay the loan in the usual way.
- By making arrangement for existing debts, for example, to pay only a portion of what you owe to creditors now and delay the rest.
- By providing up to a month of protection while making arrangements, which means creditors can’t enforce debts.
- You may get another six months protection if creditors agree.
KiwiSaver savings suspension
You can apply to IRD to stop making your regular contributions for a period if you are suffering financial hardship. Savings suspensions can be from 3-12 months. You may also be able to withdraw some of your KiwiSaver funds if you can’t meet essential living costs and have exhausted all other options.
Work and Income
Work and Income may be able to provide financial support if you have been affected by COVID-19. If you lose your job and are eligible for a benefit, you won’t need to wait for the usual standdown period to start receiving payments. Even if you wouldn’t normally qualify for WINZ assistance, you may be able to receive emergency help for living costs. Work and Income also give advice and support if you are experiencing financial hardship and are unsure if you can receive assistance. For more information, visit the WINZ website.
If your income changes due to Covid-19, the IRD are providing support for tax-related matters including:
- Re-estimates of income for people struggling to meet child support payments
- Increased payments for Working for Families Tax Credits
- Instalment arrangements to pay outstanding tax
- Certificates of exemption for contract workers
- Tailored tax codes for those who have a loss to carry forward
For more information, visit the IRD website.
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