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 2013, we helped more than 30,000 people facing hardship in Australia and New Zealand.

We also continue to review ways in which we can better understand the needs of our customers that are facing financial hardship, and ensure that our customers and frontline employees receive appropriate support to deal with these situations.

Case Study: Customer Connect

In 2013 a self-employed customer was unable to trade and maintain loan repayments after becoming a victim of business fraud. 

Customer Connect provided loan repayment relief, however, after three months of assistance, the customer's situation had still not improved. Customer Connect took the time to listen to the customer, ask the right questions, and obtain a thorough understanding of his situation. Customer Connect offered him another month of assistance to ensure he had sufficient time to get his finances in order before resuming standard repayments with ANZ.

The following month, Customer Connect arranged with the customer to reduce his remaining arrears by applying an extension to his loan account, reducing his outgoings, and keeping his repayments manageable as he continued to get his business back on track.

The customer was extremely happy with the outcome.

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
customers during these challenging market conditions. Using our expertise and insights, we were able to assess the potential customer impact and respond quickly.”

2014 results

2014 results

Our Melbourne-based Customer Connect hardship team (comprised of around 70 people) received more than 44,000 new requests for assistance in FY2014 compared to 36,000 in FY2013. Customer Connect Consultants receive specialised training to manage personal resilience and to enable them to deal empathically and effectively with customers experiencing hardship.

Introduction of our dedicated financial hardship website in FY2013 has facilitated access to our hardship program, and for some customers, the ability to apply online takes away the embarrassment of having to talk to someone about their financial difficulties. In FY2014, there were around 90 online application forms submitted every week, with a completion rate of 32 percent. The hardship website received 66,519 unique visits in FY2014.

In FY2014, we reviewed our suite of options for customers facing hardship, with a focus on assisting those experiencing long-term hardship. As a result of this review, we have introduced a five year plan for unsecured lending (credit cards and personal loans). The five year plan is offered to customers whose financial situation is unlikely to change.

This is used as an alternative to a debt waiver where the customer is placed on an agreed fixed repayment arrangement (with a waiver on fees and interest) facilitating repayment towards the residual balance owed over a five year period. At the completion of the arrangement the remaining balance owed is written off.

2013 Results

2013 Results

Increasing access to support

Over the past 12 months our Customer Connect hardship team has undergone a transformation to become one of the leading financial hardship programs of Australian banks, and voted “most improved” by the Financial Counselling Australia.

Our initiatives have included:

  • Increasing the awareness of almost 1000 employees in Australia and New Zealand about how to identify customers potentially needing assistance using training developed in partnership with Kildonan Child and Family Services
  • Including information about financial hardship as a standard part of customer's financial review
  • Becoming the first Australian bank to provide a direct link to financial hardship information from our homepage, anz.com, resulting in an increase of 500% in online visits.
  • Introducing an online application process for financial hardship assistance significantly improving a customer’s ability to contact us.
  • Launching a dedicated financial hardship website with helpful information and links. In its first week, the new site received a 540% increase in traffic compared to the same time period twelve months prior to the change on anz.com.


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