Commonwealth Bank Group provides $57 million to assist flood affected customers

Brisbane - 30 January 2011:  In a media conference this morning with the Premier of Queensland, Ms Anna Bligh, the Commonwealth Bank Group's Chief Executive Officer, Ralph Norris, announced a wide ranging set of flood assistance initiatives totalling over $57 million to help the Group’s customers and communities affected by the recent floods that have occurred in Queensland, Victoria and other affected States.

Mr Norris said, “Having visited the Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley areas and seen first-hand the severity of the damage in those areas and hearing from our people on the ground across Australia about the impact that the flooding has had, the Commonwealth Bank is stepping up to help its customers and the affected communities”.

Insurance Assistance - $50 million Compassionate Fund

The Commonwealth Bank Group fully understands customer anxiety around insurance cover for flood events. 

For CommInsure home insurance customers, who are not covered under their policy for riverine flood, the Group understands the need for compassion and assistance during this difficult period and has set aside a fund of up to $50 million that will contribute towards helping these customers.  Mr Norris said, “Although the $50 million compassionate Fund will not cover all of the cost of damage, it will provide much needed financial assistance to our customers”.

A team of Commonwealth Bank specialists has been established to oversee the distribution of payments and will be in contact with customers over the coming weeks.

Community Groups - $5 million Community Group Flood Assistance Grants Program

The Group has established the Commonwealth Bank Community Group Flood Assistance Grants Program of $5 million that will be distributed among not for profit community groups who have suffered damage or loss as a result of the recent floods. 
Mr Norris said, "We fully understand the impact that these floods have had on the backbone of many communities – and their effect on the community groups made up of volunteers and others who work tirelessly to make a community tick".
"It is for this reason that the Commonwealth Bank has established a $5 million grants program aimed at directly assisting those groups that our communities will depend on to re-establish themselves."

Details on how community groups can apply will be available on and through the branch network.

Cash Donations

The Commonwealth Bank Group has already donated $1.675 million to flood relief appeals and today has also pledged to make a further donation to assist local cricket clubs in flood affected areas of Queensland.  The amount of today’s contribution will reflect on the number of fours and sixes that are scored at the One Day International cricket match at The Gabba.  The Bank has pledged $4,000 for every four and $6,000 for every six scored at the game.

The Group has also collected donations from its staff and customers totalling in excess of $44 million.

Business and Agribusiness Customers - $1 billion Business package – First three months interest free

The Commonwealth Bank has set aside $1 billion for its business and agribusiness customers affected by the floods.  Customers whose businesses have been damaged through the floods can seek special funding through new overdraft facilities or increases in existing overdraft facilities (up to $100,000) and will NOT be charged any interest for the first three months of the loan. Additionally, we are offering a cash rebate (the greater of $500 or 0.50% of the funded amount) to flood affected customers who settle a new asset finance transaction prior to 30 June 2011.

“We have heard from our business customers that many of them have been directly affected by flood damage or indirectly affected through the “knock-on” impacts and we will work with them and assist them through additional funding at no cost for the first three months to assist in their re-establishment,” said Mr Norris.

Hardship Assistance

The Commonwealth Bank has assisted many business and personal customers already through activating its Emergency Assistance Packages.  Its specialist team will continue to work with all customers on a case by case basis to help them overcome the difficulties they face.

Ms Bligh welcomed the announcement by the Commonwealth Bank and the lead position it has displayed since this crisis commenced.  “This is a great announcement by the Commonwealth Bank as it will help many Queenslanders and Queensland communities as they work to recover from this disaster,” she said.

“The recovery process has a long way to go and the wide ranging set of initiatives that the Bank is providing sets an example for other corporates to follow.  At this time of need, I call on other companies to show the same compassion as we strive to move forward in our recovery process,” she added.

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Media contact:

Bryan Fitzgerald
Telephone:  0414 789 649