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Financial Hardship Program

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If you are finding it difficult to meet the repayments on your loan act as quickly as you can. You shouldn’t be embar-rassed or intimidated to talk to us.

You might think that this will alert us to your problems and you will be worse off, but this isn’t the case. We understand, and we’re here for you.

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Assisting Borrowers Facing Financial Hardship

Gateway Credit Union recognise that the deteriorating domestic and international economic outlook will place continued financial pressure on households, as those affected find it more difficult to service housing and personal debt.

It is important that all lenders have clear and effective arrangements to manage borrowers who are facing financial hardship. In particular, lenders should have in place arrangements that assist borrowers who are experiencing temporary financial hardship. Gateway Credit Union is owned by its member borrowers and depositors. Members, as owners, have always been treated with care and respect whether or not they are experiencing financial hardship.

Members treated on a case-by-case basis

Members in financial distress are treated on a case by case basis using a range of common remedies and options. These are outlined below and applied depending on the borrower’s circumstances.

Gateway Credit Union support the Government’s objective of ensuring that all borrowers experiencing financial hardship are treated according to some common standards of assistance by lenders. The approach matches the Government’s agreement with the four major banks but reflects the distinguishing features of Gateway Credit Union, including their mutual status, smaller size, commitment to personal service and their record as responsible lenders.

The Principles, which apply in relation to all consumer credit contracts, establish temporary and standardised arrangements that are designed to assist borrowers that are unable to meet their contractual obligations due to unemployment or as a result of other (reasonable) causes.

How we can help you

Gateway Credit Union will apply the following principles on a case by case basis to assist borrowers man-age their way through temporary financial hardship. In these circumstances, Gateway Credit Union will support their borrowers in the following ways:

  Temporary assistance options

Gateway Credit Union will work with borrowers to determine the most appropriate assistance option for each borrower.

Options 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;
  • short term reductions in interest rates, or repayments due under the contract;
  • 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.

  Identifying borrowers in hardship
  • Gateway Credit Union will have systems in place to assist in identifying borrowers who may be experiencing financial hardship.
  • Gateway Credit Union will monitor borrowers and may contact borrowers who default on their contractual obligations. If contacted, Gateway Credit Union will explain, in detail, why an individual has been contacted and explain what assistance may be available to the individual if it is found that they are experiencing financial hardship.
  • Gateway Credit Union may contact customers that exhibit other potential signs of borrower distress, which may include unusual patterns of usage of credit card products and requests for significant increases in credit card limits.
  Staff training

Gateway Credit Union will continue to have staff trained to deal with hardship cases in a sensitive and effective manner.

  Information on hardship processes
  • Gateway Credit Union 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.
  Timely assistance
  • Gateway Credit Union will continue to deal with requests for hardship assistance in a timely manner.
  • Gateway Credit Union will continue to ensure that hardship applications are dealt with as quickly as possible.
  Financial counselling services

Gateway Credit Union will provide, where appropriate and subject to availability, details about external financial counselling services.

  Needs-based assistance

Gateway Credit Union 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 Gateway Credit Union 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 circumstance; payslips; bank statements; medical certificates; welfare payment statements; or a statement of financial position and/or income and expenditure.
  Constructive approach

Gateway Credit Union will continue to work constructively with borrowers who experience financial hardship and will try to assist borrowers to overcome difficulties meeting their financial commitments.

  • Gateway Credit Union will do this whether or not the borrower has a right to seek a hardship variation or change under the consumer credit laws.
  • Gateway Credit Union will continue to consider longer term as well as short-term financial issues when they are relevant. If a member is experiencing longer term difficulties, we will try to develop an appropriate solution with the member to allow them to meet their obligations and improve their financial stability
  Responsible lenders
  • Gateway Credit Union will continue to act honestly and with integrity, and will treat borrowers fairly and reasonably, including borrowers facing financial hardship.
  • Gateway Credit Union 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 members.

How do I seek assistance?

If you are concerned about your ability to meet your loan or credit facility repayments to Gateway Credit Union, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible. We are here to assist you with these situations and will quickly put in place the best possible assistance measures to help you manage your financial obligations with us.

Communication is key. It's important to stay in touch and talk things through. Please:

The Financial Hardship Assistance service is available for you to call during our opening hours.