Our approach to financial hardship
Are you struggling to make your loan repayments? Are you experiencing financial hardship? ANZ Customer Connect may be able to help.
We know that unexpected things can happen in life and you might not be financially prepared to cope. For example, losing your job, getting sick or a relationship breaking down may cause you to struggle with your loan or credit card repayments.
If you find yourself in a situation like this, we encourage you to talk to us about how your change in circumstances is impacting your financial position – we might be able to offer you some assistance to help you deal with the financial difficulties you’re facing.
We will take the time to understand your situation. We’ll ask you for information on your financial position and carefully consider how we might be able to help you get back on track.
For more information please visit our dedicated financial hardship website.
Our financial hardship initiatives
Our Customer Connect program is designed to make it as easy as possible for customers facing financial difficulty to get the help they need.
Providing the right support for customers, which may include deferring their repayments, extending their loans or establishing flexible short term arrangements, are designed to help them to get back on track and build a positive and lasting relationship with ANZ.
Each year thousands of our customers facing difficult and generally unexpected circumstances are referred to our Customer Connect team. In 2011, we helped more than 30,000 people facing hardship in Australia and New Zealand.
In our efforts to continually improve our support for customers we review and pilot new initiatives. In 2011 we piloted a program to proactively contact customers in Australia showing early signs of financial stress, We also continue to review ways in which we can better understand the needs of our customers in New Zealand that are facing financial hardship, and ensure that our customers and frontline staff receive appropriate support to deal with these situations.
|Independent debt advice referral service|
In 2010 we piloted a service to provide customers in financial difficulty with direct and timely access to a free and confidential debt advice service. The service was offered over-the-phone by financial counsellors.
The pilot was run in partnership with Kildonan Uniting Care, recognised experts in the field of financial counselling.
We have now completed the pilot and our reviews have concluded that our service provided an additional level of support to customers in financial hardship. The ability to discuss their whole situation and all their financial obligations helped the customers involved in the pilot to feel more in control of their situation and confident that they could navigate their way through.
|Early Assistance Pilot|
Our Early Assistance Pilot aimed to support customers who were showing signs of potential financial stress, before they missed any repayments. The initiative offered customers access to a range of early assistance measures to help them avoid more serious financial problems down the track.
The early assistance measures we piloted with customers included temporarily reducing their repayments, setting up instalment plans to help them manage down their outstanding debt, helping them develop more convenient ways to manage their accounts, and access to financial education and literacy programs.
A review of our pilot has shown that the initiative resulted in lower default rates for customers who took up the early assistance measures when compared to a control group. We are now in the process of examining our findings and exploring how to transfer learnings into our standard operating procedures.
|Case study: Supporting farmers in Australia|
During 2011, following a temporary suspension, the Australian Government introduced more stringent requirements for cattle exporters involved in live cattle trade to Indonesia.
This development has impacted many ANZ customers working across the Australian cattle industry – including producers, transport companies, exporters and their families.
As a leading bank in the Agribusiness sector across Australia and New Zealand, we were quick to offer assistance, announcing a support package for affected customers, similar to that made available to customers affected by natural disasters.
Michael Whitehead, Director Agribusiness Research – Institutional, says: “We have demonstrated our long-term commitment to the Agribusiness sector and our
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