As I have mentioned in previous updates, Queensland Country acted quickly to make an Emergency Relief Package available to Members who have had their income reduced as a result of the pandemic. I am pleased to advise that this package has now been expanded for these Members to include a number of additional initiatives aimed at assisting them through these difficult times. These new elements include:
Interest assistance for Members deferring repayments on their loans
In addition to our original offer to allow affected Members to defer repayments on their loans for up to six months, we will now make a one-off payment to cover the cost of any additional interest that may be charged while you are not making repayments. Put simply, the payment will mean you don’t pay additional interest on the interest you accrue to your loan while repayments are paused. The one-off payment received will vary depending on the interest rate and amount owing on your loan.
For Members taking advantage of the deferred repayment option from today onwards, the one-off payment will be refunded to your loan at the time your application to pause repayments is processed. For Members who have already commenced deferred repayments, your payment will be processed to your loan before the end of April.
Monthly Account Service Fee waivers
Queensland Country Bank operates a transaction fee structure that rewards Members for having their salary paid directly into an account with us. Under this structure, the regular $6 Monthly Account Service Fee on the All Access Account is waived for any Member who receives a salary credit of $1,000 or more during that month.
For three months from March 2020, Members who were previously receiving the fee waiver on their All Access Account will continue to have the $6 Monthly Service Fee waived, regardless of whether they meet the usual $1,000 salary credit requirement. If you were previously exempt from this fee, but had it charged to your account in March, you will receive a $6 refund to your account in the coming weeks. The fee will not be charged on your April or May statements.
If you currently pay the $6 Monthly Account Service Fee on your All Access Account, and have a salary credit of at least $1,000 per month paid into an account at another financial institution, you may wish to consider transferring your salary credit to Queensland Country Bank so you can avoid paying this fee in the future.
The following accounts remain free from Monthly Account Service Fees:
Learner and Earners, Pension Plus, Ultimate Package, Mortgage Offset, Line of Credit, Star Saver, Student Money Saver, Future Start, Bonus Saver, Online Saver, Christmas Club#. Please refer to our Fees and Charges brochure for further information on Monthly Account Service Fees and our Personal Savings and Transaction Accounts brochure for product information.
Over Limit Fee refunds
From March 2020, the Over Limit Fee on credit cards and overdrafts/lines of credit will also be waived for three months. Like the Monthly Account Service Fee listed above, fees incurred during March will be refunded and no Over Limit Fee will be charged to your account in April or May.
If you are having regular difficulties managing your credit card or overdraft / line of credit, we may be able to assist you consolidate your debts to help make your repayments more manageable. Please feel free to contact us on 1800 075 078 or by visiting your nearest branch to learn more about the options available.
Special Fixed Term Deposit interest rates
While supporting our borrowing Members during this difficult time, we are also mindful of the needs of Members who rely on interest income from their deposits. With this in mind, we have increased the interest rate on our Special Fixed Term Deposits of $5,000 and over for terms of four and nine months. These rates are available for new or maturing Fixed Terms Deposits and can be viewed on our website here.
Like all deposits with Queensland Country, our Special Fixed Term Deposits are covered by the Federal Government’s Financial Claims Scheme (FCS).
Under the FCS, deposits are protected up to a limit of $250,000 for each account holder at each bank, building society and credit union that is incorporated in Australia and authorised by the banking regulator, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).
Following my previous updates, I have been heartened to receive a great deal of positive feedback regarding the appreciation Members have for the wonderful branch and call centre staff who are working hard to maintain our usual service levels during the pandemic. I am pleased to report that, to date, none of our staff have been diagnosed with Coronavirus and I thank all Members that deal with us on a face-to-face basis for respecting the social distancing guidelines in place in our branches.
A common question we have received since the start of the pandemic is how we will notify Members if the health of our staff or Government directives mean we need to temporarily close a branch. In the event this occurs, we will communicate the temporary closure to Members via SMS or email; a notice on our website; and a post on our social media channels. We will use these methods of notification as they are the quickest way for us to communicate with you in the event we have an unplanned need to change our operating hours.
To ensure you receive these messages, we encourage all Members to check their current contact details are up to date when you next speak with us. Alternatively, you can check the contact details we have for you through Internet Banking. Simply select the ‘Settings’ tab in the top righthand corner of Internet Banking, then the ‘Contact Details’ icon. If you or a family Member don’t have access to Internet Banking, please call us on 1800 075 078 and one of our team can assist you in setting up the service.
As discussed in my previous update, we continue to hear reports of retailers preferring card-based transaction over cash to avoid transmission of the virus. We have seen a significant increase in requests for cards on memberships in recent weeks and I encourage anyone who requires a new or replacement card to ensure ongoing access to your money to contact us.
One again, thank you for your support of Queensland Country Bank during this difficult time. Our organisation is in a strong position to help Members through the current pandemic situation, both in terms of the assistance packages we have made available and our overall strong financial position. If you have any questions about the assistance we can provide you during this time, please feel welcome to contact one of our team on 1800 075 078.
#Go Saver account only available for existing account holders
The information is general only. If you require further assistance particular to your situation, we encourage you to seek your own advice.