ASX sheds 5.6pc as sell off overlooks stimulus

ASX sheds 5.6pc as sell off overlooks stimulus

After a flurry of announcements over the past week regarding its coronavirus response activity, Australia’s largest business on Monday turned its attention to liaising with customers who may seek to take advantage of the stimulus measures.

On Sunday night, the bank warmly welcomed the federal government’s second coronavirus stimulus package and in particular the SME guarantee scheme, under which the state would provide 50 per cent guarantee to lenders for new unsecured loans.

“NAB strongly supported and advocated for the establishment of this scheme,” said CEO Ross McEwan in a statement. “We will now work with the Government to implement these measures as quickly as possible and help ensure everything that can be done is being done to support Australians through this.”

The CEO, whose short tenure at the bank so far has coincided with a tumultuous time in Australian public life with the bushfires and natural disasters over summer ahead of the COVID-19 crisis, called on customers who are experiencing hardship to get in contact with the bank’s customer service staff.

The comments follow a range a major changes announced on Friday to the bank’s business and personal loan terms, including the ability for customers to defer principal and interest for up to six months on a range of business loans, Defer business credit card repayments, receive a 100-basis point reduction on variable rates for small business loans, a 10-month term deposit rate of 1.75 per cent p.a. for 10 months and pause home loan repayments for up to six months.

On Monday the bank confirmed that its head of business banking, Anthony Healy, would be departing. Mr Healy has been representing NAB over recent weeks in a virtual war room, which has been set up to allow the big banks to engage with Treasury as it develops its emergency stimulus package to support bank customers through the coronavirus crisis.

His departure follows that of the bank’s head of consumer banking, and former NSW premier, Mike Baird.

It is understood the bank is still operating split teams across its business and has not moved to a total shutdown or work from home edict across its operations.

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