Resilience in an uncertain world

The last couple of years have brought uncertainty around the world. Even before COVID-19 changed the way we live, work and interact, climate change was bringing increasingly severe weather and threatening millions of people’s way of life. To navigate in times of uncertainty, we need to be adaptable and resilient, and help our customers and communities to be adaptable and resilient too.

Through the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve helped tens of thousands of homeowners and small businesses stay on their feet by offering deferred or interest-only loan repayments, overdrafts or restructured lending. And we’ve gone beyond just financial assistance. Our Business Banking teams have helped Kiwi small and medium businesses not just survive but thrive, by helping them adjust their business model; while our partnership with TV3’s AM Show has given households practical advice on everything from paying down debt to helping educate loved ones about online banking in our regular “Money Chats” segment.

Weather events have heaped more uncertainty upon communities already struggling with the impact of COVID-19. Whether it was flooding in Canterbury or the Upper South Island or a tornado in South Auckland, we were there to help our customers. Activating our Adverse Natural Events policy allowed us to offer immediate repayment relief to farmers and small business owners whose livelihoods were threatened.

We know uncertainty also takes a toll on our mental and physical wellbeing. “Burnout” has been a commonly discussed problem through the business community, as Kiwi workers put in long hours in challenging work environments. As well as proactive outreach from our frontline banking teams, our four ambassadors – Richie McCaw, Sophie Pascoe, Willie Apiata and Sir John Kirwan – have been busy getting out into the community and inspiring New Zealanders with their own stories of resilience and overcoming adversity.

Just as important for us is ensuring our people have everything they need to look after their own wellbeing. We’ve introduced one week per year of Wellbeing Leave, to give all our team members the time they need to recharge their batteries and look after loved ones. And to encourage our people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, we’ve offered our people a half-day of special paid leave for each jab. We believe the sooner we can get all New Zealanders vaccinated, the sooner we can leave uncertainty over the pandemic behind and get back to the freedoms we all enjoy.

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