A.N.Z. offers loan payment deferrals

A.N.Z. Samoa says it will offer deferrals of up to six months on loan repayments to customers affected by the coronavirus-led economic downturn. 

In an announcement made on the same day as the Government’s supplementary budget, the bank said that qualifying customers would neither have to make principal or interest repayments on their loans, but they would continue to accrue interest. 

The measures, the bank said in a statement, are part of a suite of measures designed to support customers in hardship, which include the removal of fees and a reduction in interest rates.

The total effect of the measures on the bank’s bottom line is $2 million a year, the bank said.

A.N.Z. Samoa Country Head Bernard Poort said the economic downturn is becoming more acute for Samoa and other Pacific countries due to the coronavirus. 

“Restrictions are financially impacting thousands of homeowners, personal borrowers and businesses in the Pacific, and for many the ability to maintain their home loan is a major concern,” said Mr Poort.

“This is going to significantly help Samoan people and the broader economy to manage over the long term through the pandemic.”

The bank says it is the only financial institution in the country to offer such a deferral scheme or free reductions and that it anticipated a large surge in applications for loan relief.

Other hardship measures made available by the bank include: loan restructuring; interest only loans for periods of up to six months; temporary working capital facilities; and term loan repayment deferrals for six months upon application, while interest accumulates. 

Last month the bank announced interest rate reductions of 0.5 per cent a year on local currency variable home and personal loans, among a range of fee reduction measures. 

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