Help available for flood victims with mortgages

Australia’s largest independently-owned mortgage broker, Mortgage Choice wants to make sure mortgage borrowers who have lost homes, businesses, assets and/or income due to flooding are aware of the financial help available to them.


January 17, 2011

Australia's largest independently-owned mortgage broker, Mortgage Choice wants to make sure mortgage borrowers who have lost homes, businesses, assets and/or income due to flooding are aware of the financial help available to them.

Many lenders are already offering extra services for flood-affected customers. These include suspending repayments on mortgages, other loans and credit cards for up to three months, waiving fees for business loan restructuring, discounted rates on new personal loans for those requiring emergency funds, reviewing credit card instalments and considering requests for emergency credit limit increases.

Also, extra staff are being made available to inform customers of assistance they are entitled to.

Financial planners, accountants and mortgage brokers can also assist flood victims in dealing with their lender, reviewing their budget and future needs, discussing new repayment strategies and researching alternative finance options. A lot of organisations are offering their services for free.

Mortgage Choice spokesperson, Kristy Sheppard said, "The flooding situation is tragic. Meeting their mortgage repayments shouldn't be another problem people have to worry about right now."

"If you are worried about not being able to make repayments or need any advice on how to improve your financial situation, contact your lender and the financial experts around you as soon as possible so they can get the ball rolling on making life a little easier."

Mortgage Choice has the following tips for mortgage holders affected by the floods:

  1. If you're having a problem with finances now or know you will shortly, get in contact as soon as possible with each of the financial institutions you're currently repaying money to so you can make use of the help they're offering.
  2. Don't be embarrassed to ask your lender/s for relief strategies such as suspending your repayments or restructuring your home loan. Keep in mind some strategies will draw out your loan term, meaning extra interest will be owed in the long run. Weigh up the financial and emotional advantages and disadvantages beforehand.
  3. If you've worked hard by paying extra into your loan account to create a financial buffer for trying times such as this, look into the ease and cost of accessing these funds. Some lenders have a minimum redraw amount and may charge you a fee each time. If this is the case, ask your lender to show some compassion and waive this cost.
  4. Reassessing your outgoings and your overall budget will possibly reveal extra money to use for the clean-up, eg. are there subscriptions or memberships you can freeze or cancel? Remembering exactly where your money is going may help you find some leeway.
  5. Consider bulk buying with neighbours to bring down the cost of replacing goods, utilise discount vouchers, research sales in your area or perhaps shop online for cheaper deals.

 

For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Belinda Williamson                                                              
Mortgage Choice                                                          
(02) 8907 0472             
belinda.williamson@mortgagechoice.com.au


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