Banks have a moral responsibility to help struggling families hold onto their homes say unions.

With the profits of the major banks at record levels they also have the financial capacity to negotiate with customers hit hard by the latest interest rate rise and be flexible with individual mortgage and loan repayments.

Unions are calling on the banks to consider the plight of working families after yesterday’s 0.25 per cent interest rate rise which could push many working families to breaking point.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:

“The banks have a moral and economic responsibility to treat home owners sensitively in the current climate.

“We encourage banks to help customers having difficulties meeting loan repayments in any way they can.

“Many mortgage holders will be faced with an increase of over $50 per month, which is money that a lot of families simply don’t have.

“The banks have the capacity to be flexible and negotiate a way for struggling families to help meet their mortgage payments.

“This is in the interests of both their customers and their shareholders.

“Recent reports suggest up to 300,000 families may be unable to cover their loan repayments and could lose their homes if rates rise much further.

“This would cause enormous hardship to individual families that are forced to sell their homes.

“It would also badly affect communities and reduce confidence in the economy as a whole. 

“The banks should be looking at each case on an individual basis and use any option available to them before moving to foreclose on loans”, said Ms Burrow.