5 September 2010

Westpac Canterbury Care Fund launched along with Billion dollar pool to help rebuild Christchurch

Westpac has announced two key initiatives to assist the people of Christchurch with food, shelter and care including a billion dollar loan pool for the rebuilding of the city.

The Westpac Canterbury Care Fund is to be established with $1 million. The Salvation Army will be a primary partner. In addition, Westpac is setting aside a $1 billion loan pool to help in the rebuilding of the city devastated by an earthquake early Saturday morning.

“Westpac is committed to the people of Christchurch and the rebuilding of the city,” Westpac Chief Executive Officer George Frazis said.

“The two initiatives are intended to help people displaced by the earthquake and in need of food, shelter and care now and over the next few weeks in addition to the rebuilding of the local economy.

“The objective of the Westpac Canterbury Care Fund is to help families get back on their feet as quick as possible. The Salvation Army is one of the most respected and recognised community care organisations in New Zealand and we welcome them as a primary partner with the Westpac Canterbury Care Fund,” Mr Frazis said.

“When the state of emergency is lifted, central funding for the Salvation Army will cease but the needs of the people in Christchurch whose lives have been turned upside down will continue for some time.”

In addition to the Salvation Army, the Westpac Canterbury Care Fund will also work with Christchurch people to decide how the $1 million will best serve the community. This will include help for local businesses. Mr Frazis said it is important local people have a role in the decision making process.
As well, Westpac has set aside a $1 billion loan pool specifically for the rebuilding of Christchurch.  The pool is available for all Christchurch businesses, not just Westpac customers, with all establishment fees being waived. Borrowers will need to meet Westpac’s normal lending criteria.

Leading up to the earthquake, the activities of Westpac’s Canterbury customers suggested the region was going from strength to strength.

“We are committed to helping the region get back up and running strongly as quickly as possible,” Mr Frazis said.