Skip to main content
About Keystart

Coronavirus COVID-19 update


Lindsay O'Sullivan, Chief Operating Officer

13 mins

Current as at 29 September 2020

At Keystart, we understand many of you are concerned about the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

We share your concern, but it’s important to remember we can do our bit to slow down the spread of this virus. We are closely following the advice of state and federal health authorities on ways to minimise the risk to our staff, customers and stakeholders.

Assistance for those experiencing financial difficulty due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

At Keystart, we have a long history of helping customers in times of difficulty because our mission is not just to help you get into home ownership, but to keep you there. With our assistance, most of our customers experiencing financial hardship improve their position; the sooner you contact us, the sooner we can help.

Our dedication to assisting Keystart customers in the unexpected crisis of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the financial hardship it’s inflicting on households is no different.

Each customer's situation is different, so we have devised a wide range of measures to assist during these uncertain times.

Please note, we review each hardship application on a case by case basis. We will help set up a plan with you and will be in contact along the way to check-in with you. We will be in touch as you reach the end of your hardship period to see how things are going. We will go through your options with you. Options to expand hardship support are available if needed.

If you’ve been paying more than your minimum monthly instalment, your home loan may be in an advance position. If it is, you may be able to defer one or more payments or reduce your regular payment. You can do this yourself through the Client Portal, or by giving us a call.

Beyond this, there are still a number of ways Keystart can help if you are experiencing financial hardship due to the impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19). These include:

  • Defer repayments: Any customer in financial difficulty affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19) can apply for hardship assistance in the form of deferring payments completely for six months. If you prefer you may choose to defer for a shorter period of time, say for just a month or two, and in some circumstances, we will grant deferrals up to 12 months. At the completion of the period of deferred repayments, you have the option to recalculate the instalment amount so you pay off your loan within the original term, or to extend the loan term to keep the repayment amount lower.
  • Reduce repayments: You may be able to reduce your regular payment to a smaller amount to provide temporary relief. This could be up to six or even 12 months, depending on your circumstances. At the end of this, we will recalculate your instalment so you can still pay off your home loan within the remaining term.
  • Extend the term of your loan: We may look to extend your home loan to reduce your repayments.
  • Free, confidential counselling: We have a long-standing relationship with Relationships Australia WA, where Keystart customers can receive up to five free sessions with a Relationships Australia counsellor to discuss any matter from unemployment concerns, relationship issues and parenting to stress or grief and loss. If you have a matter you would like to discuss in a supportive, respectful and confidential environment, we can either refer you, or you can call Relationships Australia directly on 1300 364 277 and tell them you are a Keystart customer.

Waiver of interest repayments for the most vulnerable in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

In addition to deferring loan repayments under hardship, Keystart may consider waiving interest repayments on a case-by-case basis for up to six months for customers that are particularly vulnerable due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). To ascertain whether a customer meets the eligibility requirements for additional assistance by way of a waiver of interest repayments, Keystart will make reasonable enquiries as to a customer’s circumstance.

Where Federal Government financial assistance is available to assist with the impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19), we would encourage customers to apply for that financial assistance to allow us to better assess your overall circumstance and work with you to provide a solution through our hardship process. Where no Government assistance is available or has been declined, our focus will be on the most vulnerable and at-risk when assessing eligibility for a waiver of interest repayments.

Financial hardship form

If you are experiencing difficulty meeting your loan repayments due to the impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19), please get in touch with us as soon as possible. We have a dedicated team here to help.

As we are currently experiencing a high volume of calls from customers relating to the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19), you can apply for financial hardship assistance by filling out our financial hardship form online and we will respond to you as soon as possible. Please be aware these high volumes of enquiries are resulting in delays in our customer response times. Our current response time is around 10 business days. We appreciate your patience as we work to respond to each customer.

Financial hardship application form

We are reviewing and updating our website, responses and customer support measures on a daily basis. We've prepared some frequently asked questions below.

Resources and links

We've also prepared some links to useful resources to help support you during this time.

Help in the time of COVID

You can keep up to date with the latest health and travel alerts on these websites.

Healthdirect

Department of Health

Healthy WA (WA Department of Health)

Frequently asked questions

Support for customers facing financial hardship

I have concerns about paying my home loan. What should I do?

Keystart has always had a program to assist any customer experiencing financial hardship. Our mission is not just to help you get into home ownership, but to keep you there.

We have a long history of supporting customers during tough times. If you are experiencing financial hardship due to the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19), you may have access to options such as reducing or deferring repayments. Please read our financial hardship support options above.

You can complete our online financial hardship form (see link above) and we will get in touch to go through the options available to you. We have a dedicated team here to help.

Will Keystart be implementing a payment holiday on all home loans?

We have a long history of supporting customers during tough times. If you are experiencing financial hardship due to the impacts of ;coronavirus (COVID-19), you may have access to options such as reducing or deferring repayments. However, we will not be offering a payment holiday for all customers. Please read our financial hardship support options above.

You can complete our online financial hardship form (see link above) and we will get in touch to go through the options available to you. We have a dedicated team here to help.

I’m a casual worker, what happens if I’m not able to work or my employer changes my hours?

If you are likely to experience difficulty meeting your loan repayments due to the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19), please read our financial hardship support options above. You can complete our online financial hardship form (see link above) and we will get in touch to go through the options available to you. We have a dedicated team here to help.

I’m self-employed. What happens if I have to change my hours?

If you are likely to experience difficulty meeting your loan repayments due to the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19), please read our financial hardship support options above. You can complete our online financial hardship form (see link above) and we will get in touch to go through the options available to you. We have a dedicated team here to help.

Will Keystart's interest rates be decreased?

Our policy is to adjust our interest rates by adopting the average of the standard variable interest rate of the four major banks, that is Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), National Australia Bank (NAB), Westpac Banking Corporation (Westpac) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA).

At this stage, only ANZ has lowered its standard variable interest rate. Our policy is to only consider a change to the interest rate when a minimum of two of the major banks move. Keystart is committed to helping customers during this difficult time through a range of options to support any customer financially affected by coronavirus COVID-19, including deferring or reducing repayments. Please read our financial hardship support options above.

If I enter a hardship arrangement with Keystart, will that have an impact on my credit rating?

No. If you are in financial hardship, entering into a financial hardship arrangement with Keystart will not impact your credit rating recorded by a credit reporting agency.

Can I apply for the interest repayment waiver?

The interest repayment waiver will be applied on a case-by-case basis for up to six months for customers that are particularly vulnerable and where hardship has been established due to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on their current financial situation. There are eligibility requirements that need to be met in order to qualify for the additional assistance of a waiver of interest repayments. To do this we need to make reasonable enquiries about your circumstances.

Where Government financial assistance is available through existing measures or measures announced by the Government to assist with COVID-19, you’re encouraged to apply for that financial assistance first to allow us to better assess your overall circumstances.

Where no Government assistance is available or has been declined, our focus will be on the most vulnerable and at-risk when assessing if a waiver of interest is most appropriate.

Keystart is offering a range of options for customers impacted by COVID-19, including deferring or reducing payments. Please read our financial hardship support options above.

What is the difference between using your advance position and deferring payments?

If you are in advance on your loan repayments, you can use your advance position to defer payments until your advance position is depleted. If you need to apply for financial hardship, then you may be eligible to defer repayments for up to six months.

If you are not eligible for your interest repayments to be waived then it is important to understand that should you defer your payments, interest accrues on your loan during this time as per normal.

I’d like to defer my payments or access the interest repayment waiver but I’m not in a hardship situation yet. Can I still apply?

In this time of crisis, our priority is to assist any customer financially impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19). As this is an unprecedented event we will be closely monitoring any changes in the situation as it evolves but we expect customers who are not directly impacted by COVID-19 and who are financially able to make home loan repayments, to continue to do so.

If your financial situation changes, get in touch as soon as possible.

If I defer payments, will I still be paying interest on my loan?

If you are eligible for financial hardship assistance due to the impacts of COVID-19, you may be able defer your repayments for six months. Interest will accrue on your home loan during this time but you would have reduced your financial commitments providing some financial relief when you need it.

At the end of the period of deferred repayments, you have the option to recalculate the instalment so you pay off your loan within the original term or to extend the loan term to keep the repayment lower. At this point, you would begin to pay principal and interest payments again.

Alternatively you may choose to lower your regular repayments, to provide some relief. By making partial payments rather than completely defer your repayments, the impact of interest charged will be reduced. At the completion of the period, we will recalculate your instalment so you can still pay off your home loan within the remaining term, or extend the term of your loan to keep your repayments lower.

In addition to deferring loan repayments under hardship, Keystart may consider waiving interest repayments on a case-by-case basis for up to six months for customers that are particularly vulnerable due to coronavirus (COVID-19). To work out if a customer meets the eligibility requirements for the additional assistance of a waiver of interest repayments, Keystart will make reasonable enquiries about a customer’s circumstance.

Where Government financial assistance is available through existing measures or measures announced by the Government to assist with COVID-19, you’re encouraged to apply for that financial assistance first to allow us to better assess your overall circumstances.

Where no Government assistance is available or has been declined, our focus will be on the most vulnerable and at risk when assessing if a waiver of interest is most appropriate.

I have already applied for hardship. Will I get the interest repayments waiver too?

As this is a new announcement, if you already have a hardship claim with Keystart and wish to apply for the interest repayments waiver, you’ll need to reapply for hardship through Keystart. Please note that waiving interest repayments will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis for up to six months for customers that are particularly vulnerable to financial hardship due to coronavirus (COVID-19). There are eligibility requirements for the additional assistance of a waiver of interest repayments. To do this we will make reasonable enquiries about your circumstances.

Where Government financial assistance is available through existing measures or measures announced by the Government to assist with COVID-19, you’re encouraged to apply for that financial assistance first to allow us to better assess your overall circumstances.

Where no Government assistance is available or has been declined, our focus will be on the most vulnerable and at risk when assessing if a waiver of interest is most appropriate.

We have just deferred our payments using our advance position, can we also get the six-month deferred payments?

If you are financially affected by COVID-19 you should apply for hardship assistance by completing the online hardship form. Please read our financial hardship support options above.

I have a home loan with the Country Housing Authority or a Rural Home Loan. Can I apply for financial hardship?

If you have a home loan with the Country Housing Authority or a Rural Home Loan and you are likely to experience difficulty meeting your loan repayments due to the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19), please get in touch with us using the hardship application form. We are able to offer you a range of hardship options during this difficult time. Our dedicated team is here to help and we'll get in touch to go through your options.

Contacting Keystart

Is Keystart open for business?

We’re pleased to be able to re-open our reception. We’re committed to maintaining a great service while considering your health and well-being. In line with WA Government COVID-19 guidelines, if you have experienced a fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or travelled overseas in the past month, please do not enter our office. We can still help you over the phone, please call 1300 578 278.

 

I’m unsure if I need to contact you. What should I do?

Give us a call. If you are worried about your loan or your financial situation, please feel free to give us a call on 1300 578 278.

Support for new applicants

Will my home loan application or approval be delayed?

At this stage, we do not anticipate coronavirus (COVID-19) impacting our applications or approval processes.

We have a range of contingency plans in place, which mean we can continue to deliver the best possible service to our customers, including off-site office locations and the ability for our staff to work from home.

Will my loan settlement be delayed?

At this stage, we do not anticipate coronavirus (COVID-19) impacting our settlements process. We have a range of contingency plans in place, which mean we can continue to deliver the best possible service to our customers, including off-site office locations and the ability for our staff to work from home. We will continue to work closely with the Housing Authority who act as our settlement agent.

Useful resources

You may find useful to read more on resources available, including where to go for information about the government assistance measures and valuable online links.

Read Help in the time of COVID

 

Keystart recommends that you seek your own independent financial advice prior to making any decisions about your financial needs. Any examples given in this post are provided for illustrative purposes only.