Heritage responds to COVID-19

Last updated 29 March 2021

What's new

With the COVID-19 situation continuing to evolve in Australia, Heritage Bank has reacted quickly to put in place measures to protect the health of our staff and our members, and to maintain the vital services we provide. 

We've established a COVID-19 Relief Package to assist our members facing financial difficulties because of the current challenging circumstances. 

NEW 29 March 2021: Greater Brisbane Three-day Lockdown

The Queensland Government has imposed a three-day lockdown of Greater Brisbane from 5pm AEST on 29 March 2021.

As an essential service, Heritage Bank branches in these areas will remain open. For your wellbeing and that of our staff, we encourage you to visit a branch only if it's essential. 

Don't forget, you can access most of your banking branchless using  Heritage Online, our Mobile Banking App and Heritage Access Line. Our Contact Centre is also here to help on 13 14 22 or via live chat. 

Please follow Government and health advice and do your bit to keep everyone in our community safe and well.

Our response plan

Our response plan

As part of our regular business continuity planning, Heritage already has a well thought out Pandemic Management Plan in place. We activated a management committee in January 2020 to start guiding how we implement the measures in our plan.

We recognise that COVID-19 is an issue requiring proactive management, while also ensuring our response is measured and appropriate.

We’re closely following the advice from Australian Government agencies to ensure our actions are in line with the best practice medical advice.

Protecting the health and safety of staff, customers and everyone we come in contact with is of the utmost importance. We’ve introduced the following measures to keep people safe:

  • We’re urging everyone to practice good hygiene, and to stay away from work and seek medical advice if they feel sick, especially with flu-like symptoms.
  • Any staff who arrive home from travelling overseas must self- isolate themselves for 14 days.
  • If people have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, they must immediately isolate themselves and work from home for 14 days.
  • If people have been in close contact with someone suspected of having COVID-19, they should self-isolate and work from home for 14 days.

Practising good hygiene

Following correct hygiene practices is one of the best ways we can prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • We have provided additional supplies of hand-sanitiser to all our locations and distributed information on best-practice hand-washing and hygiene practices.
  • We've provided our front line staff with well fitted gloves to protect them while handling money.
  • Staff have been asked to clean and wipe down hard surfaces every 30 minutes to prevent the virus from spreading.
  • We've placed markers on the floor of our branches near counters to help enforce distancing requirements. 
  • We're organising additional cleaning of branches and office locations, where possible.

Visiting Heritage locations

We’re asking our customers, contractors, suppliers and business partners to take simple precautions to help us reduce any risk of spreading COVID-19.

  • During this time, we’re asking customers not to visit our branches unless absolutely essential. Our customers are encouraged to continue their banking online or via phone instead. We've put signs in place at our branches to share this message.
  • If customers or business partners need to organise a meeting with Heritage staff, we’re offering them the option of completing their enquiry via telephone or web meeting, rather than a face-to-face meeting.
  • If you are a supplier or contractor whose staff regularly attend a Heritage office location, we’re requesting they take appropriate steps to avoid or reduce the risk of exposure to themselves, our customers and staff

Alternative working locations

We’re following advice from the health authorities for businesses to adopt the Social Distancing approach. This is a way to reduce the risk of contracting the virus and enhancing organisational resilience by limiting the concentration of staff members in the one location.
 
Many of our administrative staff have the capacity to work remotely and are doing so now. Our different departments are also fulfilling their normal business requirements with a mixture of staff working from their normal locations, working from home, or working out of alternative Heritage locations. 
 
We have steps in place to ensure our Branches remain open as usual and our Queensland-based Contact Centre will continue to be staffed 24/7.

Changes to fee waivers

Heritage has decided to end the fee waivers we introduced last year as part of our package of COVID hardship relief measures. Heritage has been waiving or refunding the following fees for all customers with lending products since the initial COVID outbreak hit in March last year:

  • Default Fee (lending products)
  • Late payment fee (credit cards)
  • Cheque Dishonour Fee (on line of credit and overdraft facilities)
  • Direct Debit Dishonour Fee (on line of credit, overdraft facilities and credit cards)
  • Over Limit Fee (Business credit card)
  • Overdraft Reference Fee (on line of credit and overdraft facilities)

The COVID fee waiver was a temporary measure designed to give people a helping hand to cope with the initial shock of COVID. Now that the need for urgent initial assistance is over, we will be returning to our normal fee structure. The fee waiver will end effective from 15 February, 2021.

Importantly, if you're experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID and need support, we have a range of assistance measures that are still available. Reach out to us on 1300 726 100 and our team will work quickly to assess your situation and advise how we can help.

Changes to branch trading hours

In interest of the safety of our customers, staff and the wider community, we have temporarily ceased Saturday trade for most of our branches. Additionally, all Heritage branches are closing 30 minutes earlier Monday – Friday so they can be thoroughly cleaned.

The following branches are still open on Saturdays:

  • Clifford Gardens
  • Grand Central
  • Kmart
  • The Range
  • Wilsonton
  • Castle Hill

The following branches are also open on Saturdays for non-cash enquiries:

  • Maroochydore
  • Coomera
  • HIghfields

Visit our branch locator to check individual branch trading hours.

COVID-19 Relief Package

We know many of our members have concerns about the impact of the current situation on their financial position, particularly where an economic downturn could affect their ability to meet mortgage commitments. This is why we've established a COVID-19 Relief Package and a dedicated team to assist you through this time.

Call 1300 726 100 to talk to us about the Relief Package.

Financial Hardship
Heritage has policies and processes to assist members facing financial hardship, including COVID19, Flood and Bushfire Relief Packages. 
Special phone lines

To assist our most vulnerable customers, and those working on the front line, we've established special phone lines for seniors, emergency services workers and healthcare workers so that we can help them with their banking over the phone, in a fast-tracked way. 

To access these special phone lines, members must:

  • Hold a Pensioner Concession Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, State Seniors Cards, or;
  • Be a healthcare and emergency services worker and hold an AHPRA card, or be able to provide proof of their workplace

Emergency Services and Healthcare Workers Hotline

07 4694 9007

Seniors Hotline

07 4694 9081 

Support for business

SME Business Loans

We know many businesses have been impacted by COVID-19 and may need additional support during this difficult time. That's why we're taking part in Phase 2 of the Coronavirus SME Guarantee SchemeUnder this Scheme, we'll assist Small and Medium Businesses (SMEs) to obtain better access to credit to help them adapt to the new, COVID-safe economy and invest for the future. 

SME Support Loans for Small and Medium Business
See the loans we're offering under Phase 2 of the SME Loan Guarantee Scheme to help businesses adapt and invest for the future.
Ways to bank

Let's work together to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

During this time, we strongly encourage you not to visit our branches unless it’s absolutely essential. Particularly if you're not feeling well or think you've been exposed to the virus. 

We offer a wide range of alternative banking channels, including Heritage Online, our Mobile Banking App, and Phone Banking. If you would like to register for any of these services, give us a call and we can help you get started.

Banking Branchless
No matter where you’re located, we have banking solutions to help you including 24/7 service, online account opening, Bank@Post and much more.  
What's next

Next steps

The COVID-19 situation continues to change rapidly and our management committee is meeting regularly.  We are closely following the advice from Australian Government agencies to ensure we are enacting best-practice measures. It’s important that we are proactive in our response and we are taking considered and appropriate actions. Working together is how we can best manage the situation on a calm and practical way.

More information

If you would like more information about the COVID19 situation, visit the Australian Government Department of Health or World Health Organization websites.