Westpac NZ has today launched a $1 million fund to help its small business customers impacted by the floods in the upper North Island.
Small business customers who meet the eligibility criteria can apply for a $2,500 cash grant to help with urgent expenses or repairs.
Westpac NZ Chief Executive Catherine McGrath said many customers were in need of assistance given the scale of the natural disaster.
“We’re hearing from customers hit hard by the floods. Buildings have been damaged or destroyed and livelihoods impacted. We want customers to know we’re here for them.
“The insurance industry is saying these floods will be New Zealand’s biggest non-earthquake insurance event and they come at a time when many of our customers are already dealing with heightened financial pressures.
“These grants are aimed at alleviating some of the immediate pressure. They will be available to small businesses in areas that have declared a state of emergency since Friday 27 January.
“We are choosing to focus on small businesses as they tend to have more modest cash reserves than bigger companies and they may not be able to access some of the assistance offered by other agencies, such as the Civil Defence Payment or Auckland Council Emergency Relief Fund.
“Small businesses are critical to our economy and to the local communities where they operate.
“We have a long history of working alongside our customers together through thick and thin. Our bankers are here to talk through the financial challenges caused by the floods, to help customers find a way forward.”
Westpac NZ’s announcement builds on an earlier commitment made on Saturday to provide financial relief options where needed, such as the suspension of principal payments on home and business loans, deferred payment on business credit cards and a temporary overdraft facility for business customers.
Customers can apply for a cash grant at www.westpac.co.nz. The fund will remain available up until it is fully allocated or until 5pm on Friday 24 February 2023, whichever is earlier.
Summary of cash grants
- $2,500 in cash grants to eligible small businesses affected by flooding in the upper North Island in 2023. In order to be eligible to apply, a customer must be a small trading business and:
- Be based in a region that has declared a state of emergency since Friday 27t January. So far this includes Auckland, Northland and Waitomo.
- Have their main business account with Westpac NZ.
- Have less than $2 million turnover per year from their combined businesses.
- Have experienced damage or business interruption resulting in a loss exceeding $2,500.
- Be relied on as a main source of income by its owner.
Approval of applications are at Westpac NZ’s discretion. Additional terms and conditions apply.
Summary of other possible support options offered by Westpac NZ for business and personal customers affected by flooding
- Suspension of principal payments for up to three months on home loans and business loans for customers experiencing hardship.
- Deferred payment on business credit cards for up to three months.
- A temporary overdraft facility for business customers.
- Access to term deposit funds for consumer customers suffering hardship.
- Hardship support for customers with significant financial challenges.