Commonwealth Bank offers special assistance package for customers in drought declared areas

16 October 2006

In response to the extended drought affecting large parts of Australia, the Commonwealth Bank has advised that it will look for ways to support customers running drought-affected businesses.

The Bank will work on a case by case basis to review the needs of business customers involved in agriculture and related businesses, such as produce suppliers, transport operators and harvesting contractors.

Mr Ralph Norris, Chief Executive Officer, Commonwealth Bank said, “The agricultural industry in Australia has experienced overall income downturn over a prolonged period.  This is affecting a significant number of our customers across multiple regions.  We have long standing relationships with many of these customers and while we’ve seen them battle against rainfall shortages before, the current challenges are profound.”

Mr Norris added, “We appreciate that our customers need our support at this time and for that reason we have a comprehensive special emergency assistance program to help farmers in drought declared areas”.

The key features of the Bank’s special assistance package include:

  • additional carry on finance to meet short term needs, such as purchasing stock feed, agistment, or to re-sow crops once the drought breaks;
  • interest rate margins being maintained at their existing levels despite any increase in the customer’s risk rating;
  • restructuring of existing loans free of additional related fees;
  • providing interest only facilities during the drought;
  • extending the terms of facilities;
  • waiving of prepayment charges for affected customers wishing to access term deposits, Commonwealth Investment Bonds or CBFC Debentures ahead of the maturity date.

“We have also undertaken to assess the circumstances of customers on a case by case basis, and look for ways to help them through this period of extreme drought.  Many of the badly affected farms and businesses are viable under normal climatic conditions and we’re looking for ways to help them during this period.”

If Commonwealth Bank Agribusiness customers are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the drought, they should contact their Relationship Executive for advice. 


For further information, please contact:

Bryan Fitzgerald
General Manager Media and Issues Management
Telephone (02) 9378 2663 or 0414 789 649