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COVID-19 CBA reducing customer's loan repayments to the minimum

EDIT: looks like it’s confirmed on their website now
https://www.commbank.com.au/latest/support-for-home-loan-customers.html?ei=pers_HL
-> Direct Debit Changes

Saw this posted on another forum, so 100% sure of the authenticity. Seems VERY dodgy to change repayment amounts on all of their customers.

Taking advantage of super-low market rates to boost their bottom line? Will all the other banks follow?

With the current uncertainty surrounding coronavirus, we’re taking steps to continue providing the financial support our customers need.

This is why we’re making a one-off change to your home loan direct debit repayment amount, reducing it to the current minimum required repayment. By paying the minimum, you’ll have access to extra money should you need it.

What this means for you

Between 1 – 5 May 2020 we’ll be automatically reducing eligible home loan direct debit repayment amounts to the current minimum. You will see this change on your normal direct debit date in May. If you’re already paying the minimum, nothing will change.

You can view your current repayment details in the CommBank app or NetBank at any time.

Your options

If you’re happy with this change, you don’t need to do anything.

If you’d like to continue paying above your minimum repayment and pay off your loan sooner, you can do this from 6 May 2020 in the CommBank app or NetBank. You can also make additional repayments at any time.
Learn More
We’re here to help

For further information on home loan support or if you are facing hardship due to impacts of the coronavirus situation, we have a range of options to help you.

Yours sincerely,
The CommBank Team

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With friends like the CBA, who needs enemies?

https://www.commbank.com.au/latest/support-for-home-loan-customers.html?ei=pers_HL

Direct Debit Changes

From 1 May, for eligible customers who pay via direct debit, we will be automatically reducing the direct debit repayment amount for all Principal and Interest variable rate Investment/Home loans to the minimum required repayment.

You’ll have the option to change your direct debit repayment from 6 May if you wish to continue paying above your minimum repayment, in NetBank or the CommBank app. We will be in contact with all customers in April with more information.

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It does seem a little strange the way they have approached this, automatically adjusting changes a customer had made in the past to increase payments more than the minimum repayment amount.

I wonder if it would have been better for them to touch base all those customers who were paying more than the minimum, to check that due to any changes in their circumstances that this increase payment was still affordable or met their current needs. They could have offered to make changes without any fees or penalises should a customer need a change. They could have also advised how advanced they were in their payment should the customer need a buffer period where repayments are deferred for some reason.

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Obviously very fortunate that they cannot change their credit card holders monthly payment to the minimum payment so as to lock them into a lifetime of debt.

With a scam like like that, they wouldn’t need any other income.

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What’s this likely to cost the CBA?

As a marketing strategy the CBA can say it has done something ‘wonderful’ for it’s customers. Not quite ‘Trumpesque’ in it’s thinking. It’s not even novel. A common way to ease customers in financial stress to a better future time.

By retaining or setting as a minimum the interest repayments, the CBA is protecting it’s income stream, and short term profitability. IE dividends.

The cost/risk to the CBA is a reduced return of capital from the principal portion of each loan. This may require the bank to fund additional capital at a future time. All subject to banking magic which the average consumer never sees. But a commodity that appears incredibly cheap at the moment. :thinking:

What no bank might want is defaulted housing loans, and the prospect of selling into a collapsing property market.

Has the CBA really put itself out for it’s customers?

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How do we STOP the CBA from decreasing the repayments? I didn’t agree to this, I don’t want this. I specifically requested a higher repayment and I haven’t authorised a change. Time to look for a new Loan provider!

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Refer to the CBA online release. There is advice that customers can continue to make higher repayments. Refer to this earlier post.

Assume you are also able to phone or go into your branch if it suits to sort this out. Not everyone uses internet banking services.

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The point MarkM is that I shouldn’t have to change anything. I didn’t request the change. Now I have to manually make a change to correct a change that I haven’t authorised. :frowning:

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I agree and raised this in my earlier post. It seems to be they have gone about it the wrong way.

They could have provided specific customer information on repayments, how far advanced extra payjent is (buffer) and let customers make the decision on whether to continue with status quo or change their repayments to the minimum.

Agree, in your instance.
It’s also a point worth taking as a customer to the CBA bank.

There may also be other CBA customers who are satisfied that the change has been made without a need to discuss it with the bank. Either way the CBA requires some of its customers to contact them. The bank rightly or wrongly has made it easiest for those who are happy with the change. And assumed those who do not require a change are the exception.

The bank/s we use have only offered to discuss repayments on a one on one basis where there is financial hardship. Which may not be that straight forward for those in need. :thinking:

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I schedule my own transfer and never use direct debit - I do keep a close watch on what is happening to my accounts, but many don’t. I think it is reasonable to expect that something you’ve set won’t be meddled without communication - I’ve received nothing from CBA directly about this. Netbank has splashed virus messages onto the page from memory, but they all seem a bit lame …

From the link in the original post, I did notice this statement:

In the current uncertainty surrounding coronavirus, the financial and personal wellbeing of our customers and people remains our priority.

I feel better already …

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I am wondering what people have done with regards to the Commonwealth Bank sending a “no reply” glossy marketing type email to customers during the COVID-19 lockdown saying their mortgage repayments will be reduced. Sort of “no need to contact us, we are looking after you”.

Of course, we know that if repayments go down they make more money.

I took it to the ombudsman and they have asked me if I am okay now as my repayments ended up not going down because I made the effort to contact the CBA and tell them not to. I have told them that I am not okay and don’t like this behaviour. They said they will contact the bank again and continue their investigation. Not sure what they can do?

They have advised that I should be taking it to the ACCC , ASIC and APRA?

I was also surprised to hear them say that the contract I signed says that the bank can reduce mortgage repayments at any time without the customer’s permission?

I think this is serious and needs action . I know customers may have contacted the bank to say they did not want the repayments reduced ( how many didn’t?) but why were they put in that position in the first place?

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While I agree with your disquiet about how the bank reduced your repayments without your consent, it is good that you were aware of the long term cost, and sorted it out.

Unfortunately, you will have no dourbt noticed that really little has changed since the Royal Commission into the finance & insurance industries. One thing that has changed a bit is that banks are now more active in telling customers how they are helping while neglecting to disclose the long term cost/benefit.

This Government has already displayed it’s lack of desire to come down on the banking or insurance industries, so don’t expect any more from their agencies such as ACCC, ACIS, APRA. etc. It appears that at the moment the motto of the day is ‘as long as it looks good, it will do’.

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Hi @Joe1

You are with company, so I moved your post to this existing thread.

or ‘as long as it does not smell bad enough to lose a seat, no worries?’

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I think it’s a mess. And very surprising these things are happening post the Royal Commission.

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The LNP were forced into the Royal Commission; and have deferred fully implementing the recommendations to never. So is it really a surprise?

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