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Financial Disaster Relief Assistance For Consumers

Financial Disaster Relief Assistance For Consumers
Damaged classroom block at St John’s College in Cawaci, Ovalau on April 11, 2018. Photo: Manhar Lal
April 13
11:00 2018

In light of the devastating effects caused by Tropical Cyclone Josie and associated floods in parts of the country, the Consumer Council of Fiji is pleased to note that financial institutions are now offering disaster relief assistance.

The Council urges consumers to be informed and read the various packages on offer to make the choice that best suits their needs and situation.

Bank of the South Pacific (BSP) has called on those affected to contact their respective branch representatives for financing assistance and the Council notes that it is offering a waiver interest of three months on new policy loans granted up to July 31 2018 and has waived interest on late payments of premiums up to July 31 2018 for BSP Life customers in the West.

The Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) activated its Natural Disaster Rehabilitation Facility and affected homeowners must note that they are able to apply for funding up to $5000 at a maximum interest rate of 4.5 per cent per annum.

Home Finance Corporation Bank announced a relaxation on loans for affected customers and additional loans under the Reserve Bank Fiji disaster rehabilitation package.

Consumers that apply for a personal loan of up to $1000 for emergency needs would be provided the loan by the bank within two days of lodgement.  The Council would like to highlight that for HFC Bank, the relief package is not limited to customers in the affected area but extends to others who may have families or properties in affected areas.

Consumers are strongly encouraged by the Council to make use of these packages instead of turning to money lenders or credit institutions such as Kontiki Finance that charges exorbitant interest rate. This is an expensive option as consumers would be liable to fork out more upon repayment, with interest rates for credit institutions ranging from 18-29 per cent.

The Council is discouraging consumers to take loan from moneylenders because of their illegal interest rates they generally charge which is often more than 12 percent per annum.  The Council advices consumers to not make rash decisions and be aware and informed of the choices available to them when seeking financial assistance during natural disasters.

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