NAB steps up natural disaster support as new research reveals ongoing impact of bushfires



NAB has today announced new support measures for customers and communities to help them before, during and after a natural disaster.

The announcement comes as a new survey by NAB of customers in bushfire-hit communities found that 1 in 2 businesses are still feeling the impacts of last summer’s bushfires and 9 in 10 customers who were impacted had never been offered support in how to prepare for an event.

A new $1.2 million NAB Foundation Community Grants program is now available to help customers both prepare for and recover from natural disasters, including fire, floods and cyclones, as well as support long-term recovery efforts and build resilience against future disasters.

NAB has also promised to extend its emergency grants in the event of future natural disasters, to provide immediate relief during an event for temporary accommodation, food, clothing and business costs.

Speaking today from Bairnsdale in Victoria’s East Gippsland, a region affected by the bushfires last summer, NAB CEO Ross McEwan said the bank’s role was not only to support the recovery and rebuild of these communities, but to help them get ready for future natural disasters.

“Customers have told us that they need more support from financial institutions to help them in a time of crisis, but also to help them better prepare in the event of a crisis and recover in the long-term,” Mr McEwan said.

“They also told us how important it was for families and businesses to have quick access to immediate funding during the disaster.

“Today’s announcements are about providing that support for Australians before, during and after a natural disaster.”

NAB CEO Ross McEwan spoke to 3AW’s Neil Mitchell about the announcement and you can read a transcript here.

During last summer’s devastating bushfires NAB committed $5 million to relief and recovery efforts. Approximately $3 million was provided in emergency relief grants to more than 1500 Australians and an additional $560,000 was donated to the Australian Red Cross and local charities in impacted regions. The remaining $1.4 million will be used to support longer-term recovery projects.

The new NAB Foundation Community Grants will be awarded to local community groups for initiatives including education, training, preparedness plans, mental health support, infrastructure, equipment, urban greening and reducing climate risk.

Other support initiatives NAB announced today include simplifying and fast-tracking the process for customers needing to renovate or rebuild their property post a natural disaster related insurance claim. In addition, NAB has committed to having more customer care team members available after a disaster for one-on-one conversations with customers.

NAB’s research also revealed businesses were the hardest hit in the January fires, with some of the biggest impacts being the temporary disruption and higher costs. Business closure, damage to infrastructure and loss of stock and disruption to tourism were also impacts experienced by businesses.

NAB will extend its bushfire leave policy to February 2021, giving all of its employees an additional annual leave day to encourage them to visit communities impacted by bushfires last summer, to show their support and help the local economy.

“These communities are very resilient. Most businesses have stayed and rebuilt, even on top of the challenges presented by COVID-19, but they need our support,” Mr McEwan said.

“Now is the perfect time to holiday at home. We want our colleagues to get out there and visit these great towns.”

Applications for NAB Foundation Community Grants open today, Monday 23rd November 2020. For more information please visit


Additional information:

Summary of NAB’s Disaster Relief initiatives:

  • Launch of NAB Foundation Community Grants: Grants of up to $10,000 are available to initiatives that prepare people, homes, businesses, towns, cities and our environment for natural disasters, and support long-term recovery and resilience work. Charities or organisations with a charitable purpose can apply, including sporting clubs, chambers of commerce or schools. Grants can be for initiatives in areas including education, training, emergency systems, preparedness plans, mental health support, infrastructure, equipment, urban greening and climate risk.
  • Home Loan support for rebuilds:  The process for customers needing to renovate or rebuild their property relating to a natural disaster insurance claim will now be simplified to provide faster approvals.
  • Increased customer support during a crisis: NAB’s regional branch teams and customer support teams are undergoing training to be able to provide additional on the ground or video support for customers needing emergency relief.

NAB’s FY20 disaster relief support:

  • $3 million distributed in small emergency grants to impacted colleagues and customers to help cover personal costs such as temporary accommodation, food and clothing and business costs such as reopening, covering damaged property, and loss of stock.
  • $400,000 to the Australian Red Cross’ Relief & Recovery Fund, made through direct and matched fundraising donations.
  • $163,500 in donations made to local charities in impacted regions via NAB’s Donate Local Funds in NSW South, NSW North/QLD, Victoria and South Australia.
  • An additional $1.4 million committed to long-term recovery projects.
  • ~$770,000 also collected via public fundraising for the Australian Red Cross
  • >1700 days of bushfire related leave taken by NAB colleagues to visit areas impacted
  • Around 4000 volunteering hours contributed

The NAB Economics Disaster Impact Survey details the financial impact to home owners and businesses directly impacted by the recent bushfires

  • 9 in 10 said the effect on themselves and their families was significant, even more so if they had a business.
  • Respondents described their level of preparedness as moderate (scoring 5.3 out of 10) and even less so for the preparedness level of family & friends (4.3 out of 10). 9 in 10 respondents said they had never been offered support in how to prepare for a natural disaster.
  • 6 in 10 were offered donated goods or services after the disaster. With most naming friends and family, organisations such as the Red Cross and their local community as the biggest support providers. Almost half were offered help cleaning up and a quarter offered support for counselling and mental health services.
  • For people who had received offers of relief support from a financial institution, they were most satisfied with deferral of their principal and leasing payments for impacted businesses and emergency accommodation assistance.



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