NORTH Queenslanders impacted by the ongoing floods have been given a reprieve with major banks announcing a suite of measures to help residents and primary producers get back on their feet.
Agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank this week said support measures would be put in place for farming clients affect by floods and rainfall events across Queensland.
These included the deferral of scheduled loan repayments, waiving of break costs on early redemption of Farm Management Deposits, waiving of fees on loan increases necessary to assist in rebuilding operations and waiving of fees for equipment finance contract variations.
Rabobank deputy regional manager for North Queensland Chris Adams said while the extreme monsoonal rainfall had been largely welcomed by agricultural producers, livestock in the north-west and crops along the coast had suffered.
“The rainfall overall has had enormous benefit for agriculture in the region, soaking parched paddocks and filling dams,” Mr Adams said.
“However some agricultural areas are now struggling under the sheer volume of water – in some cases receiving their average yearly rainfall in just a matter of days.
“Areas, including around Julia Creek and Cloncurry, Richmond, Winton and the Gulf Country, have received a staggering amount of rain as well being battered by intense cold winds, and there are cattle losses because of exposure as well as the inability of stock to access fodder. In certain instances too, graziers are having to evacuate their properties.
“Some sugar cane crops have been flattened by the rain and winds and while a lot should be able to bounce back, this will depend on how long it remains wet.”
The NAB, ANZ, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac have also announced relief measures for customers.
The NAB will provide credit car and personal loan relief, suspend home and personal loan repayments, support to mange existing agribusiness bank facilities and waive costs of withdrawing term deposits early.
Home and personal loan application fees will also be waived.
The ANZ bank has rolled out measures including suspending payments on loans and credit cards, temporary interest rate releif, waiving fees for restructuring business loans and early access to term deposits.
ANZ Managing Director Retail Distribution, Catriona Noble urged affected customers to contact their bank.
“We hope our relief measures will help customers in some small way when they begin the recovery process,” Ms Noble said.
Westpac is also offering deferral of loan and credit card repayments, loan business loan restructuring without fees and a discounted personal loan interest rate for people wishing to replace goods.
The Commonwealth Bank is providing its emergency assistance package for customers and businesses affected by storms and flooding in Townsville and surrounding areas.
Customers are urged to phone 1300 720 814 or visit their nearest branch to find out what assistance can be provided.