Answers to common questions relating to Coronavirus support measures
People’s Choice remains an essential service and will continue to provide banking services to you. However, to comply with government restrictions and expert advice to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, we encourage you to avoid using our branches unless you absolutely have to. Our top priority is the health, safety and wellbeing of our staff and members. We feel this approach has the right balance of supporting you with branch based needs, while also reducing the risk of transmission.
Branches that remain open in Victoria will only be open on Mondays and Thursdays from 9:30am – 4pm for now.
Please see our dedicated branch information page at this link for the latest on branch opening hours.
In the short term, the real estate industry expects some slowing of activity and a fall in median property values.
However, property is a long-term investment based on some fundamental factors:
You should consider obtaining your own independent professional advice before investing in the property market.
Reports from CoreLogic already show a drop in capital city house prices. National social distancing guidelines limited auctions and open house inspections from late March, cooling demand and reducing competition for properties on the market. There has also been a reduction in the number of properties coming to the market.
A fall in house prices is to be expected in the short term, but property is a long-term investment. Indeed, some people may see the fall in prices as an opportunity.
The banking industry cut rates when the Reserve Bank of Australia reduced its cash rate to 0.5% on March 4, and again when the cash rate was reduced to 0.25% on March 20. This leaves rates at an historic low, a level the Reserve Bank expects to be maintained over the next few years.
There may be some small changes in rates from time to time – depending on the lender – but current rates are likely to be maintained for some time. In fact, it may be a good time to lock in some savings. To understand what options you may have, please contact your Home Loan Adviser directly or call us on 13 11 82.
If you’re looking to refinance your Home Loan, take a look at our refinance special offer.
The banking industry is offering relief for customers and members affected by COVID-19, although the extent of that relief differs with each lender and the customer’s circumstances.
People’s Choice has outlined its support for members here.
Temporary changes to our branch opening hours in Victoria began on Monday, 10 August 2020.
Please see our dedicated branch information page at this link for the latest on branch opening hours.
You can start the process of applying for a loan over the phone or in a virtual appointment by filling out our dedicated enquiry form at this link. For personal loans, we can finalise the loan using electronic contracts, by sending your contract by post, or by booking an appointment with staff in branch where possible and safe to do so.
No. People’s Choice is in a strong financial position notwithstanding the economic effects of COVID-19. It was a difficult decision to temporarily reduce the opening of our Highpoint, Eastland, Knox, Ballarat and Warrnambool branches to Mondays and Thursdays, but it’s to protect the health and safety of our staff while keeping face-to-face banking available on the two days members use these branches most.
People's Choice are closely monitoring the ongoing situation with Coronavirus, and will resume normal opening hours as soon as government and experts advise that our branch service can be conducted without risk to our staff and members.
If you need to speak to a particular branch or staff member, you can request a virtual appointment with either by filling out our dedicated enquiry form at this link.
Additionally, our National Contact Centre have staff available to take your call between 8:30am - 8:30pm Monday - Friday and 9am - 5pm on Saturdays (AEST).
You can withdraw up to $2,000 per day per card from any People's Choice or major bank* ATM, or supermarket, free of charge. Withdrawals can also be made through [email protected] at selected Australia Post outlets, free of charge for the first two withdrawals each month. Extra People's Choice cash withdrawals during the same month will incur a $3.00 fee per withdrawal.
*Major banks include Westpac, NAB, Commonwealth & ANZ
If you need to withdraw more than $2,000 in one day, you can select 'Credit' when completing the transaction. Your limit will be approved for the balance of your account.
The Federal Government has introduced social distancing restrictions to limit the potential spread of COVID-19. Among the restrictions is a ban on auctions and open house inspections, which is already reducing the competition for available properties, thereby cooling the market and its prices.
The coronavirus has also resulted in many thousands of people losing their jobs or having their hours cut dramatically. A number of these people may have been looking to buy and no longer have the job security needed to purchase a property. Even those with secure jobs are likely to avoid long-term commitments in the face of such uncertainty.
However, the property market is based on long-term trends. While we may see a short-term fall in house prices and a slowing of the housing market, the long-term fundamentals remain sound.
The majority of capital cities will return to growing populations, who will be seeking to buy or rent property. In the long term, working from home may become a sustained practice – meaning there could be greater demand for regional housing as people seek a lifestyle that isn’t focused on city life.
Housing construction has slowed, meaning there is demand for existing properties. And historically low interest rates are in place for the next couple of years to offset the slowing economy and consumer caution.
There are never any guarantees when it comes to investing, but the long-term fundamentals of property remain sound – even against the immediate downward pressure on the market.
Members experiencing financial difficulty at any time can find information about the support we provide on our Financial Hardship Assistance page at this link.
No. We have committed to a range of support measures for members impacted by Coronavirus, however we are not waiving fees for all members. We are assessing members’ individual circumstances and will work through putting appropriate support in place depending on the member’s individual situation.
On 22 March 2020, the Australian Government announced changes to superannuation that enables Australians who are financially impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19) to access their super.
To find out if you are eligible, visit the Department of Treasury early access to superannuation factsheet.
People's Choice has introduced a range of measures to support those experiencing financial difficulty due to impacts related to Coronavirus, such as loss or reduction of income. See all support measures at this link.
For CGU Travel Insurance policies purchased prior to 23 January 2020, you are covered for medical expenses related to the Coronavirus. Click here for more information regarding insurance and Coronavirus.
People's Choice provides a range of support measures, depending on your situation and the depending on the loan type. Options may include extending the length of the loan, converting to interest-only payments for a period of time, consolidating debt or a combination of these and other measures.If you are experiencing difficulties in repaying your loan, please reach out by calling 08 8124 2148, emailing us at [email protected] or visiting us at one of our branches.
No. Break cost fees are generally not waived if you plan to restructure your loan, however, if you are experiencing financial difficulties due to the impacts of Coronavirus, we can assess your individual circumstances and work through putting appropriate support in place depending on the individual situation.
Please note, a quoted break cost fee is only valid for the date that it is quoted. Please refer to the Break Cost Fact Sheet for more information at this link.
Alternatively, to see what other support measures are available, visit the Coronavirus help page at this link.
To understand what options you may have, please contact your Home Loan Adviser directly or call us on 13 11 82.
If you have not fully recovered from the impact of COVD-19 by the end of any initial period of assistance we provide, and remain unable to recommence full repayments, we will explore possible further relief arrangements with you. Please contact us and complete a Statement of Financial Position form. This will help us understand your circumstances and how we may be able to assist you further. We will work with you depending on your circumstances at the time.
Depending on the type of loan, People’s Choice has implemented a number of loan repayment support measures to assist members experiencing financial difficulties due to the impacts of Coronavirus. This includes deferring repayments, allowing you to redraw your loan or reduce your repayments. Find out more at this link.
Our insurance partner, CGU, has announced a series of measures to support current policy holders affected by Coronavirus. Find more information on how CGU might be able to help at this link.
Fixed rates are secured for the duration of the fixed term set out in your contract. If you seek to break a fixed rate early you may be liable for break costs fees. If you are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the impacts of Coronavirus, please reach find more information at this link.
Yes, your funds are safe. People’s Choice is one of the country’s largest credit unions and, as an Authorised Deposit-Taking Institution (ADI), is part of the Federal Government’s Financial Claim Scheme and its $250,000 deposit guarantee.
We have been in existence since 1949 and have been growing strongly since.
We are happy to discuss payment and purpose options on your Home Loan. Please give us a call on 13 11 82 and so we can discuss an option that best suits your needs.
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