Australian Finance Group has established a $100,000 bushfire relief package to directly assist customers and brokers aﬀected by the fires sweeping Australia.
The aggregation group is oﬀering immediate short-term assistance to AFG brokers and AFG broker customers who have been impacted by the fires through one-off payments of $1,000.
The grants will be available to those who have been seriously injured or had property partially or completely destroyed by the recent bushfires.
AFG has said that it is contacting its 3,000-strong broker network to identify any customers or colleagues aﬀected by the fires and to provide details of how to apply for the grants.
AFG customers that have been aﬀected by the fires would also be eligible for hardship support, the aggregator noted.
The group’s head of sales and distribution, Chris Slater, commented: “All Australians are feeling the impact of these fires.
“At AFG we have been shocked and saddened by the intensity of the fires and the scale of the damage. We applaud the emergency services personnel and the army of volunteers for the dedication and the absolute commitment they have displayed in recent months.
“We have given significant thought to how best to make a contribution. Given the scale of the losses, the time taken for some people to receive assistance can often be long. We have set up the grant program as one way of helping to provide immediate short-term assistance to those who most need it now.”
Mr Slater continued: “As a mortgage aggregator with a significant national footprint, we are reaching out to our broker network to identify those customers and brokers most in need of immediate support. The $100,000 grant program is well placed to directly and quickly deliver assistance to where it is needed.”
Several other aggregation groups, including Choice, FAST and PLAN, and numerous lenders have launched similar grants to those who have lost property in the fires or had their business premises severely damaged in the crisis – with Westpac recently announcing it would cover mortgage repayments for customers who had lost their homes for a whole year (up to $1,200 a month).
The FBAA also made a public call-out to regional brokers who are themselves affected by the bushfires to contact the association for support, regardless of the association they belong to.
AFG to donate $10,000 to the Mortgage and Finance Industry Bushfire Relief
As well as announcing the grants, AFG has also pledged to donate $10,000 to the Mortgage and Finance Industry Bushfire Relief fund, which is supporting the Red Cross. However, the group said it is expecting this amount may increase following a staff fundraiser later this week.
The group is also encouraging its broker members to contribute to the appeal.
At the time of writing, the Mortgage and Finance Industry Bushfire Relief fund had raised more than half of its $750,000 target – gaining significant support from major brokerages Aussie, Loan Market and Mortgage Choice, as well as from the NAB-owned aggregators, industry associations and individual brokers.
According to the Red Cross, $15 is enough to support a family who has just been evacuated from their home during a bushfire, $20 can help train and support Red Cross volunteers to provide advice and support to those struggling in the aftermath of a disaster, $100 can provide 40 households with emergency REDIplan materials to help them prepare for disaster, while $200 can deliver a preparedness session for 30 people.
A donation of $1,000 can assist the Red Cross in setting up and staff an emergency information service to help those searching for missing friends or family.
Anyone looking to donate to the Mortgage and Finance Industry Bushfire Relief can do so via the relevant page on the Red Cross site.
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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