While banks have reinstated repayment deferrals, that won't be enough to help every borrower, Ross McEwan says
Some Australians will lose their homes thanks to the ongoing lockdowns now affecting half the nation, National Australia Bank’s CEO says.
With lockdowns in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, banks have reinstated loan repayment deferrals in an effort to aid businesses and homeowners struggling under the restrictions. But that won’t be enough to save everyone’s home, NAB CEO Ross McEwan admitted.
“There will be some situations where [for] customers, it’s the best thing for them to do to put the house on the market if they themselves don’t see themselves getting back into employment for a long period of time,” McEwan told ABC.
NAB has not had to foreclose on any properties during the last 14 months, according to a Yahoo Finance report.
“Our intention is to keep homeowners in their homes as much as we possibly can and work with them, and we want to get people through this,” McEwan told ABC. “This is not their fault.”
As lockdowns are extended in both NSW and Victoria, NAB has seen a 40% spike in the volume of customers asking for assistance, with their biggest worries being mortgage repayments, Yahoo Finance reported.
“Let’s be quite clear: this hurts,” McEwan said. “That’s why we want people to call us early so that we can intervene with them and put in place some sort of arrangements.”
Economists have warned that the new lockdowns could trigger a “double dip” recession. However, McEwan said he didn’t think the economic doldrums would last long.
“We certainly look like we will be going back into negative territory, but what we have seen after each of those lockdowns, the opening up does bring economic activity back very, very quickly,” he told ABC.