WELLINGTON, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- The number of customers contacting their banks has increased 20 percent since New Zealand went into COVID-19 alert level 4 lockdown on Aug. 17.
"In the first week of lockdown banks saw little customer contact due to the COVID restrictions. Since then, calls have increased on average 20 percent. We put the increase down mostly to people experiencing uncertainty," said New Zealand Bankers' Association CEO Roger Beaumont on Friday.
"While it's true there are some people experiencing financial hardship because of the current lockdown, we're not seeing the same demand for help we saw with the first lockdown in March last year."
"Last year, under the loan repayments deferral scheme agreed with the government, Reserve Bank and credit rating agencies, around $70 billion in household and business loans had repayments fully deferred or reduced for up to six months. We're not seeing the need to bring back the scheme at this stage but deferring or reducing repayments remain a potential option for people in hardship, on a case-by-case basis," said Beaumont.
Under top Alert Level 4, everyone is asked to stay at home or remain in local areas to prevent any further community transmission. All mass gatherings must be canceled. Schools and early childhood centers are closed but services including supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics and petrol stations will stay open at Alert Level 4. Enditem