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Mortgage deferrals will not affect customer credit ratings - NZBA

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Anyone who has deferred their mortgage repayments for up to six months because they are financially impacted by Covid-19 will not have their credit rating affected as a result of the deferral, provided they were not in arrears before the pandemic.

Banks have agreed this initiative with credit reporting agencies.

New Zealand Bankers’ Association chief executive Roger Beaumont says this approach to credit reporting during Covid-19 is intended to provide certainty and relief for affected customers.

"Banks have stepped up at this time to offer mortgage deferrals for eligible customers. This agreement means those customers won’t have their credit ratings negatively impacted for the period they’re not making repayments.

"Given the extraordinary circumstances it seems fair that individual credit ratings are not affected by a pandemic-related mortgage deferral.

"This only applies to customers who they were up to date with their repayments before Covid-19.

"There may be other factors that can affect a customer’s credit rating, including if the customer was already in arrears before applying for a mortgage deferral, so we encourage customers to talk to their bank early if they’re finding it hard to keep on top of things.

"We acknowledge the support of the Reserve Bank in facilitating this initiative. They have helpfully agreed that banks can treat deferred loans as performing," Beaumont says.

Mortgage deferrals are one of a number of ways banks can help customers in need. Other ways banks are helping customers include:

- Reducing or suspending principal payments on loans and temporarily moving to interest-only repayments

- Providing loans to businesses under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme

- Helping with restructuring loans, for example extending the term of the loan

- Consolidating loans to help make repayments more manageable

- Providing access to short-term funding

- Referring individual customers to budgeting services.

Due to the very high number of calls to contact centres at this time, customers are encouraged check their bank’s website for information on how to access assistance in the first instance.

Further information about how banks are helping customers get through is available at:

https://www.nzba.org.nz/consumer-information/covid-19/banking-industry-response-to-covid-19/

The government’s official Covid-19 website also includes useful information on financial support:

https://covid19.govt.nz/individuals-and-households/financial-support/

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