The three NAB-owned aggregators, Choice, FAST and PLAN, have pledged a total of $85,000 to the Mortgage and Finance Industry Bushfire Relief fund and are offering affected broker members access to NAB grants and counselling services.
Following on from the move by several leading brokerages from across Australia to jointly launch a mortgage broker-backed fundraising campaign to help those in need during the ongoing bushfire crisis, the three NAB-owned aggregators – Choice, FAST and PLAN – have pledged a total of $85,000 to the Mortgage and Finance Industry Bushfire Relief appeal.
Choice Aggregation Services has pledged to provide direct financial aid worth $20,000 to the Mortgage and Finance Industry Bushfire Relief fund, PLAN has committed $30,000, while FAST has said it will donate $35,000 to the fund, which is raising money for the Red Cross Disaster and Recovery Relief Fund.
As well as the monetary donation, the aggregators have also said that they recognise the importance of supporting brokers emotionally and from a mental health and wellbeing standpoint, and will therefore be offering members access to counselling services through NAB’s Employee Assistance Program should they require additional support. Brokers can access this service via their BDMs.
Moreover, the aggregators have said that broker members (and their families) that have lost their home or suffered significant damage to their business property during the current bushfire season can also access NAB’s $2,000 bushfire relief grant to access “immediate care”.
FAST CEO Brendan Wright commented: “The scale of destruction these bushfires have caused is tragic. Our thoughts are with all of those who have been impacted. Let’s do whatever we can to back those who need help and support in these very challenging times.
“The broking industry has joined forces to launch [this appeal] via the Australian Red Cross – FAST is supporting this initiative with a donation of $35,000.”
Likewise, PLAN CEO Anja Pannek stated: “It has been so heartwarming to see the coming together of our fantastic broking community to provide much-needed funding and support at this difficult time.
“Never has it been more important to support our country and communities impacted in such a devastating way over the recent months.
“As always, my thoughts are with everyone affected, and I encourage everyone to support in any way they can.”
Choice has also noted that its not-for-profit partner, suicide prevention organisation R U OK? Foundation, has put together a comprehensive list of resources and support services available to help provide guidance on supporting others through the bushfire crisis.
Mental health support services are also being provided by the federal government, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison announcing on Sunday (12 January) that an initial $76 million would fund free counselling sessions, extra Medicare and tele-health consultations, an expansion of headspace services for young Australians, and community recovery initiatives to help support those impacted by the bushfire crisis.
“These bushfires have been unprecedented in their scale, coverage and duration. They have caused tragic loss of life and physical damage, that have scarred our landscape. But as I have witnessed in connecting with people on the ground in fire affected communities, they have also taken a traumatic emotional toll on our people. We need to ensure the trauma and mental health needs of our people are supported in a way like we never have before ,” the Prime Minister said.
“Working together, we will continue to do whatever is needed to support those Australians affected and traumatised by these terrible bushfires by rebuilding communities and helping people in need to recover,” Mr Morrison said.
The Mortgage and Finance Industry Bushfire Relief fund grows in size
Since launching last week, the Mortgage and Finance Industry Bushfire Relief fund has grown substantially in size.
Having initially been launched by several brokerages, the appeal has since gained the support of both mortgage broker associations, three major brokerages and several lenders, as well as individual brokers.
The appeal initially aimed to raise $100,000 for the Red Cross Disaster and Recovery Relief Fund and has been recently significantly boosted by donations from Aussie, Loan Market and Mortgage Choice, which each donated $100,000 to the appeal.
Several lenders have also committed to support the cause, with SME lender Finstro recently announcing that it will donate $50,000.
Given the increasing range of players contributing to the fund and its broadened scope, the appeal has been renamed the Mortgage and Finance Industry Bushfire Relief, and its fundraising target has been increased to $750,000.
More than half of this amount has already been raised.
Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.
As well as writing about the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts.
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