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Managing Financial Difficulty

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We can unexpectedly find ourselves in a situation where we are unable to meet our repayments and other financial obligations. We call this situation financial difficulty. The causes of financial difficulty can include sickness, unemployment, over commitment or impact by a natural disaster.

Finding yourself in financial difficulties, mortgage arrears or being unable to cope with your debts is stressful and traumatic. Don't try to cope alone. Use the free help and advice services that are available. Don't ignore the problems and hope they will go away - they won't. Do talk to us and to any other creditors - in many instances a temporary arrangement can be made quickly and efficiently over the phone. Alternatively, we may need to complete a more detailed assessment of your personal and financial circumstances to identify how we may be able to help you.

Request a CallContact Us

If you would like to apply for assistance, contact our dedicated team.

Phone: 1300 361 761
Postal address: SERVICE ONE Credit Control
75 Denison Street

If you find yourself in financial difficulty, you should let SERVICE ONE know as soon as possible. We will be positive and do all we can to help you to overcome your difficulties.

The sooner you discuss your problems, the easier it will be for both you and SERVICE ONE to find a solution.

SERVICE ONE will give you straightforward information in plain English explaining how we can help you overcome your difficulties. With your cooperation, we will develop a plan with you for dealing with your financial difficulties. If you are experiencing any financial difficulty, contact us now.

Don't make promises you can't keep. It will make negotiation that much harder in the future. You are not alone. Removing the fear of a financial crisis should be an important priority for all of us. Unfortunately, crises will happen so it's best to have a sound budget and savings goals that can cope with life's emergencies.

  SERVICE ONE assistance with financial hardship

SERVICE ONE applies several principles, which relate to all consumer credit contracts and establish temporary and standardised arrangements that are designed to assist borrowers who are unable to meet their contractual obligations due to unemployment or as a result of other (reasonable) causes.

SERVICE ONE will apply the following principles on a case-by-case basis to assist borrowers manage their way through temporary financial hardship. In these circumstances, SERVICE ONE will support borrowers by:

1. Temporary assistance options

Temporary assistance to borrowers who are experiencing financial hardship and have become unemployed or are in difficulty more generally.

SERVICE ONE will work with borrowers to determine the most appropriate assistance option for each borrower. Options may include:

  • in relation to mortgages, postponing the dates on which payments are due under the contract (with interest to be capitalised into the loan)
  • extending the period of the contract and reducing the amount of each payment due under the contract
  • reducing the limit available to customers on credit contracts
  • offering different banking arrangements that will better suit the customer’s needs
  • temporary overdrafts on a one-off and temporary basis to suit short-term needs
  • providing interest-only repayment options on loans, and
  • providing fee waivers.

These options will be considered in circumstances where the borrower will be able to meet the new repayment terms and will be able to meet their new contractual obligations in the long-run.

2. Staff training

SERVICE ONE will continue to have staff trained to deal with hardship cases in a sensitive and effective manner.

3. Information on hardship processes

SERVICE ONE will maintain the mechanisms that are in place to allow borrowers to seek information about hardship assistance.

Access to information about hardship processes will be open to borrowers without requiring borrowers to provide evidence of their hardship.

4. Timely assistance

SERVICE ONE will continue to deal with requests for hardship assistance in a timely manner.

SERVICE ONE will continue to ensure that hardship applications are dealt with as quickly as possible.

5. Financial counselling services

SERVICE ONE will provide, where appropriate and subject to availability, details about external financial counselling services.

6. Needs-based assistance

SERVICE ONE will continue to provide temporary financial hardship assistance based on information about the borrower’s individual needs.

Borrowers who apply for temporary assistance may need to provide evidence of financial hardship. This will help SERVICE ONE develop tailored solutions for individual borrowers.

Evidence of financial hardship can be satisfied through the provision of the following documents that show a change in their personal circumstances:

  • payslips
  • bank statements
  • medical certificates
  • welfare payment statements, or
  • a statement of financial position and/or income and expenditure.

7. Constructive approach

SERVICE ONE will continue to work constructively with borrowers who experience financial hardship and will try to assist borrowers to overcome difficulties meeting their financial commitments. SERVICE ONE will do this whether or not the borrower has a right to seek a hardship variation or change under the consumer credit laws.

SERVICE ONE will continue to consider longer term as well as short-term financial issues when they are relevant. If a borrower is experiencing longer term difficulties, we will try to develop an appropriate solution with the borrower to allow them to meet their obligations and improve their financial stability.

8. Responsible lenders

SERVICE ONE will continue to act honestly and with integrity, and will treat borrowers fairly and reasonably, including borrowers facing financial hardship.

SERVICE ONE will continue to act as responsible lenders.

We base our lending decisions on a careful and prudent assessment of a borrower’s financial position. We promote the responsible use of credit to our borrowers.

9. Impact on the wider community

SERVICE ONE will continue to take into consideration the impact of their operations on staff and the communities they serve.

If you are facing financial hardship, we encourage you to contact SERVICE ONE as soon as possible, and we can provide advice on options available to deal with your individual circumstances. Phone the Telephone Response Centre on 1300 361 761.

  Financial difficulty assistance - FAQs

Q: What are some assistance options?

A: The options available will depend on your personal circumstances and financial situation. Some of these may include:

  • tailoring a payment arrangement
  • deferring or reducing loan payments for a defined period of time
  • extending the loan term, and/or
  • capitalising loan arrears.

Q: What is the application process?

A: If you think you are, or will be, unable to meet your debt obligations please contact us as soon as possible.

Depending on your situation we may be able to enter into a temporary arrangement quickly and efficiently over the phone.

Alternatively we may require further information and documentation to help us understand your financial position and determine whether assistance is appropriate.

We may require:

  • a statement of financial position to be completed summarising your current income, expenditure, assets and liabilities
  • employment contract and/or payslips
  • account statements
  • Centrelink statement and/or social security payment details
  • medical certificate from a qualified medical practitioner
  • employment separation statement
  • contract of sale/sales agency agreement, and/or
  • other documents which support your request.

Q: How will we assess your application for financial difficulty assistance?

A: Our dedicated team will contact you and will take into account the following types of factors when assessing your request:

  • reason for financial difficulty
  • your current financial position
  • your ability to meet the commitments under the proposed arrangement and future repayments under the contract, and/or
  • the ability to rehabilitate your circumstances (based on whether the financial difficulty assistance will offer genuine relief to restore your financial situation).

Q: How will we confirm the arrangement?

A: We will confirm the details with you verbally and/or in writing. You will need to ensure that you meet the terms of the arrangement. If you are subsequently unable to meet these terms, you should contact us as soon as possible to discuss your situation.

Q: What happens if my application is declined?

A: There may be a number of reasons why we decide not to provide financial difficulty assistance. If this is the case the reason for this decision will be explained to you in writing. We will also seek to discuss the next steps we will take and other available options with you.

  Useful resources

If you are experiencing financial difficulty, there are a range of useful resources available to you, including:

The Australian Bankers' Association’s Doing It Tough website provides information about financial hardship, including how to identify if you’re experiencing financial hardship, how to apply for hardship assistance, and tips to help you manage your money.

ASIC’s MoneySmart website provides information and tools to help you make the most of your money.

You may wish to seek advice from an independent financial counsellor about your options. For more information about financial counselling services phone the toll-free number on 1800 007 007 or go to Financial Counselling Australia’s website.

  Steps to manage your money

Here are 10 positive steps towards managing your money during a period of financial difficulty:

  1. Get into the habit of using a budget to manage your money, and avoid having to borrow money from friends or family. Our online budget planner can assist you in organising your weekly income and expenditure.
  2. Avoid impulse shopping - use services such as lay-by to avoid credit card purchases.
  3. Use prepaid or capped mobile phone accounts to help control how much you spend on your phone.
  4. If you buy a car, shop around for the best deal on a loan - don’t just accept the finance offered to you at the car yard.
  5. Shop around for the best deal on car insurance and tell your insurance company all the facts when applying for a policy - don’t be tempted to conceal convictions or crashes, or you could be left uninsured.
  6. Keep credit cards under control by paying them off in full each month - look for a credit card with a low ongoing interest rate, rather than paying for bells and whistles.
  7. If you have several loans including lots of credit card debt, consider consolidating the loan balances into one personal loan.
  8. Set up regular electronic transfers to your credit cards, or savings account.
  9. Use discount coupons. Why pay full price for fast food? Or even groceries? Take advantage of discount coupons to save some money.
  10. Never commit to financial affairs that you can’t afford and stick to your budget.

You can also pick up your free copy of our Budget Guide from any Branch which will help you develop a budget plan for your household.

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