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Friday, March 25, 2011

ASB helps Christchurch customers after earthquake

ASB helps Christchurch customers after earthquake

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 09:27 26/03/2011
 
A $250m investment programme to help kick-start the rebuilding of Christchurch is being launched this morning by ASB Bank.
The bank's incoming chief executive Barbara Chapman is due to announce details of the investment programme at a press conference with Prime Minister John Key at 10.30am this morning.
The two main elements of the $250m investment programme are:

* A new Christchurch Business Rebuild Fund to provide additional cashflow relief of up to $100 million for the bank's existing small to medium business customers significantly impacted by the disaster.  This new financial support package will mean local Christchurch businesses will be able to switch existing ASB borrowing to one year interest-free followed by an additional two years at a one percent discount off the then current customer interest rate. 

*Another $100 million loan support fund to encourage new business in the Christchurch region.  This ASB Christchurch New Business Fund, which will be available for both existing customers and new business opportunities, will also provide a one year interest free loan followed by an additional two years at a one percent discount. 

"Canterbury is an important region for both New Zealand and ASB and we have witnessed first-hand the heart ache of the local people and the severity of the damage that has been caused in both the September 2010 and now the February earthquakes. 

From day one ASB has been committed to stepping up to help its customers and the community in a meaningful way,'' Chapman said.

To support home loan customers substantially affected as a result of the earthquake, ASB was also enhancing its original relief package. 

Existing ASB, BankDirect and Sovereign home loan customers can now access a six month repayment holiday along with a one year interest discount of 1% off the variable rate or 0.5% off the fixed rate. 

Chapman said ASB wanted to take some of the immediate financial pressure away from its customers so they could focus on their immediate family and property priorities. 

ASB is also establishing a Community Groups Assistance Grants programme, which would see $1 million distributed among registered not for profit community groups who have suffered damage or loss as a result of the February earthquake.

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