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What is financial hardship?
Financial hardship refers to a situation where an individual has difficulty in maintaining their living expenses and paying their debts when they are due. Everyday events causing financial distress may include:
- injury or illness
- reduction of income due to unforeseen circumstances
- relationship breakdown
- domestic violence or financial abuse
- natural disasters such as a bushfire, flood or drought
- pandemics such as COVID-19
- depression or recession would impact employment or reduction of income due to unforeseen circumstances
Financial hardship is more common than you might think. Statistics from the National Financial Capability Strategy show that one in five Australians don’t have access to $2000 in an emergency. 1
How we can help
Our members are a valued part of our community, and we are here to support you even during uncertain times. If you experience financial difficulties, we encourage you to contact us quickly so we can work through your options together.
What you need before you start
We’ll need details about:
- your account information
- your situation, which you can provide using our Statement of Financial Position Form, which is available here
To make sure your application is processed quickly, complete the Statement of Financial Position Form as precisely as you can, and provide any supporting documents to assist our team assess your circumstance. Alternatively, visit us, call us or write to us and we can assist you.
How to apply
There are several ways to apply for financial hardship assistance:
- Call Community First Direct on 1300 13 22 77, Mon-Fri 8am - 8pm (AEST/AEDT) or 8am-3pm on Saturdays.
- Submit a request through our online Call Back form.
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Attend any of our stores
What happens next?
Generally, we can process your financial hardship assistance application over the phone.
Occasionally we’ll need you to provide supporting documentation. If this is the case, please provide this as quickly as possible and allow up to 21 days from the date you provide this information, for us to process your request.
Steps you can take yourself
Claim against your loan protection, or income protection insurance policy
Access available redraw on your loan
Chances are if you’ve made a habit of paying more than your minimum scheduled repayments, then you’ll have money available for redraw from your loan. If you have internet banking, you can view how much funds you have available to redraw.
Sometimes fixed-rate loans have restrictions. However, at Community First, our fixed and variable rate home loans come with the ability to redraw.
Note: You must have paid ahead by at least one full repayment to access your redraw online. Fees may apply
Loan repayment pause
If you are ahead in your repayments you could consider pausing your repayments, the duration of the pause will be dependent on how many months in advance your repayments are.
Call Community First Direct on 1300 13 22 77, Mon-Fri 8am - 8pm (AEST/AEDT) or 8am-3pm on Saturdays to request a repayment pause.
Request interest only repayments
Switching to interest only repayments on your home loan for a term may provide you with some cash flow relief. Your repayments will be lower as you are only repaying the interest, not the principle amount borrowed. Keep in mind that this is only a temporary measure, and you need to remember that at the end of the interest only term, your repayments could increase as you’ll need to repay the remaining loan amount over a shorter period.
Support for businesses
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) may be able to access a range of government support both nationally – and in your state/territory. You should also contact your accountant to enquire what tax concessions may be available to you.