The decision by the big four banks to do nothing for homeowners risks putting families out on the streets, Leader of the Australian Greens, Adam Bandt MP, and Housing spokesperson, Mehreen Faruqi, said today, calling for the government to get big banks to give vulnerable homeowners a residential ‘mortgage holiday’ to make sure families don’t lose their homes.
At a time of unprecedented financial stress and rapidly rising unemployment, the decision by the big four banks to limit their deferred loan repayments to small business customers is insufficient and risks furthering workers’ budgeting woes.
The Greens today called for the national cabinet to impose a ban on mortgage foreclosures during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a freezing of homeowners’ credit ratings. The Greens also called on the government to get the big 4 banks – who have just been the beneficiaries of significant support from the Reserve Bank – to give vulnerable homeowners a mortgage holiday, just as they have with business.
Adam Bandt, Leader of the Australian Greens said:
“Thanks to COVID-19, millions of workers are wondering if they’ll have a job tomorrow, and this cowardly inaction from the big banks will now have them wondering if they’ll be able to pay their mortgage too.
“People expect the banks not to be bastards through this crisis, but they’re leaving homeowners out in the cold.
“By deferring payments for small business, banks have shown they recognise the scale of the financial crisis ahead of us. Deciding to leave homeowners out in the cold is either greed or laziness.
“No one should be forced out onto the streets during a global pandemic.
“The national cabinet must look at making the big banks give vulnerable homeowners a mortgage holiday. If banks won’t show compassion, the government must step in.”
Mehreen Faruqi, Australian Greens Housing Spokesperson said:
“Banks have reaped huge profits for years. If they want to keep what little is left of their social license after the Royal Commission they have to do the right thing by families at risk during this crisis.
“Housing is a human right, no matter the circumstances. Not one person should be made homeless during this crisis, and the banks have a big role to play in that.
“This crisis highlights how messed up housing in Australia is. Urgent action now needs to be followed by massive investment in rebuilding social housing, an expansion of crisis housing and reforming the tax loopholes that advantage wealthy investors over the community.”