In February this year, Australia faced its worst recorded flood disaster which devastated communities along the country’s East Coast.

Three intense weather systems led to record rains and flooding, with significant and wide-reaching impact to everyday Australians. Insurance companies received more than 177,000 claims; 20,000 homes and businesses were flooded in Queensland; and more than 5,000 homes were damaged in NSW.

Commonwealth Bank needed to respond quickly to support our customers and communities.

In late February, we launched Emergency Assistance that put in place special arrangements to support CBA and CommInsure customers should they need it.

This included customised payment arrangements for loans and credit cards, waiving fees and charges, emergency temporary overdrafts or credit limit increases, providing emergency accommodation to CommInsure customers, and expediting claims, among other support.

We also knew that in times of disaster, our customers and communities needed support both today and tomorrow. That’s why CBA launched the CommBank CanGive Appeal and the CommBank Flood Relief Fund in the wake of the floods.

Through customer donations and dollar matching by CBA, $2.8 million was raised to support flood-affected people and communities, with funds distributed to 17 charity organisations providing immediate relief and supporting with the ongoing rebuild and recovery. This included Australian Red Cross, Queensland and NSW SES, Thread Together, Good360, Vinnies, Salvation Army, Lifeline, BizRebuild and Foodbank, among others.

The CommBank Flood Relief Fund provided an additional $2 million to support community organisations in impacted areas with more than 200 community organisations receiving $10,000 grants to help their recovery efforts.

CBA’s digital channels played an integral role in reaching out to customers who may need support. With the help of AI technology, CBA offered natural disaster assistance to 2.7 million flood-affected customers through the CommBank app.

At the time, CEO Matt Comyn said: “Australians have shown over the past several years that when we come together, we’re strong and resilient in the face of challenges.

“CBA is committed to supporting our customers and communities as they deal with the immediate impacts of the catastrophic flooding along Australia’s east coast. We will be with them for the long haul, through recovery and rebuild.”