FINANCIAL HARDSHIP FACT SHEET
This guideline applies to all Fixed Term or 31 Day type Investments (personal/retail investors only) or home, car or personal loans held with Uniting Financial Services.
Financial hardship occurs when you’re willing but unable to meet your existing financial obligations for a period of time. Financial hardship may be caused by a number of factors, such as an unexpected event or an unforeseen change in your circumstances. This could be because of illness, injury, or a change in employment.
We might be able to help if you are experiencing financial difficulties and you are unable to meet your financial commitments and:
- you have an investment with us that is not an At Call Investment which you would like to access before the maturity date; or
- you are finding it hard to make repayments on your home, car or personal loan with us.
If you wish to seek access to your funds prior to the scheduled maturity date or would like us to consider your financial hardship for the purposes of coming to an alternative arrangement in relation to your loan, you must complete and sign a Financial Hardship application form located at the end of this page.
Completing the application and providing us with the necessary documentation in support of your financial hardship claim will enable us to finalise an assessment and make a decision. Some examples of the types of situations where financial hardship may apply can include, but are not limited to:
|Business Failure/Decline||Self-employed investors experiencing a business or cash flow decline, temporary or long term, including businesses/companies no longer trading|
|Marital Dispute||Separation, custody disputes, court cases or division of assets resulting from separation or divorce|
|Change/Loss of employment||Recently ended employment with no immediate job prospects, change of employment that has resulted in reduced hours and or income, including change to employers, or employment industry|
|Maternity||Financial difficulty impacted by maternity leave allocation including paternity leave and any unforeseen, unplanned costs resulting from the birth of a child|
|Over-committment||Too many loans or financial commitments exceeding investor’s current financial serviceability|
|Unexpected Events||A financial event that has caused unexpected difficulty that was unplanned and not covered in any other definition|
|Flood (direct)||Investor’s home or business has been directly impacted by flooding|
|Flood (indirect)||Investor’s place of employment, community or family members/dependants have been impacted by flooding, causing indirect financial difficulty|
|Cyclone (direct)||Investor’s home or business has been directly impacted by a cyclone|
|Cyclone (indirect)||Investor’s place of employment, community or family members/dependants have been impacted by a cyclone, causing indirect financial difficulty|
|Other||A financial event that has caused difficulty and has not been covered in any other financial difficulty
“Other” situations for Investor hardship can include, but are not limited to: –
To enable us to be able to evaluate your application and finalise our assessment, supporting documentation evidencing your financial hardship is required. Some examples of these documents include, but are not limited to:
- Notice of employment termination
- Medical certificate or any other relevant medical documents confirming inability to earn income due to disability, injury, illness or caring for sick family member
- Outstanding bills i.e. rates notice, phone bill, electricity bill, outstanding loan payments with another institution, outstanding credit card payment with another financial institution etc.
- Statement(s) of accounts
- Court order
- Bank notice, re. unpaid overdraft or repossession of mortgaged property
- Eviction notice
- Pending disconnection of essential services
- Letter from charitable organisation re. loss of employment or inability to provide for basic necessities
- Repossession notice of essential items, e.g. car, motorcycle
- Funeral expenses
- Notice of impending legal action
How long will my application take?
Our assessment of your application will commence as soon as all relevant information and supporting documentation is received by Uniting Financial Services.
What happens if my application is successful?
Once a financial hardship application has been approved, funds can be deposited to any nominated external bank account you nominate. Should an account not be available, a bank cheque will be issued which may take up to 5 business days to clear.
We will work with you to try and come up with realistic alternative arrangements such as deferring or reducing loan repayments or restructuring and consolidating loans that would result in the eventual repayment of the debt. Although we are not subscribers to the Code of Banking Practice, and are exempt from Schedule 1 of the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth) (NCCP) – otherwise known as the National Credit Code (NCC), we endeavour to follow their guidelines in relation to financial difficulty.
What can I do if Uniting Financial Services is unable to assist me?
If your financial hardship application for assistance is not approved, the remaining period of your Fixed Term Investment or 31 day investment will be applied. With your Self Help Investment, 31 days’ notice will still apply commencing from the date you requested hardship assistance until the expiration of 31 days (if you wish to proceed with your withdrawal).
We will provide you with written reasons for our decision if we do not believe alternative arrangements based on the information available will assist. We will then work with you on next steps in relation to your loan.
If you’re not satisfied with the decision, you may wish to take the matter further. You may contact the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), an independent complaints scheme free of charge to customers. Importantly, FOS will not deal with a dispute unless you have gone through the internal dispute resolution process first.