“Everyone has their own individual story, and we’re here to help them get through this.”

Simon Hopkins, MTF Solutions Team Manager

MTF Finance is in all our communities from the City of Sails to Southland. Our customers are our neighbours, friends and the people around us – so we’re only too aware of how the pandemic is affecting everyone.

Managing your income and spending is important right now, particularly as we don’t know how long the Level 4 lockdown will last. We know many of our customers are operating on less income than they’re used to, and we’ve put in place new measures to get everyone out the other side with minimal disruption or stress.

It’s our fiftieth year this year and we were hoping for celebrations, but we’ve shifted our focus to just helping our customers get through this trying time.

So how does a finance company made up of locals help?

First and foremost, we’re still open as an essential business, and still contactable.

Our Solutions Team Manager Simon Hopkins and his team are busy finding the right solution for every customer that gets in touch - there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer.

“Everyone is different and everyone has got their own story. Potentially, some people will put themselves in a position of hardship to maintain their payments. As long as they talk to us, we can help them to try to stop that pressure.”

“Our franchise and dealer staff, and the team in the call centre, are all doing a fantastic job finding out their customers’ individual circumstances, and helping them out the best they can,” Simon says.

At the beginning of the shutdown period the team was receiving 1,000 emails and 800 phone calls per day, and over 90% of our customer feedback has been really positive. We’re here to help.

What should I do if I’m concerned about my payments?

1. Visit the Government Covid-19 website

The Government has made a lot of financial help available for businesses and individuals. Visit the Covid-19 website to see if there’s support available for you.

2. Talk to your employer

If you’ve been stood down for the lockdown period or if you’re an essential worker whose hours have been reduced, you may still be entitled to an income. Have a chat to your employer and find out what their plan is.

3. Contact the MTF Finance branch that organised your loan

Get in touch with the local team that organised your loan. They’ll have a chat about your circumstances, see if you might be eligible for support, and work with you to make a plan to get you through. Our call centre is always open, but it’s best to get in touch with the person who originally set up your loan.

4. Don’t panic - it will be OK

We know this is a stressful time, particularly when you’re concerned about making your loan repayments. However, you might be in a better position than you think: time at home means less money spent on food and drink, takeaway dinners, childcare, and petrol costs. You might find your budget is looking better than you expected.

MTF Finance New Lynn manager John Davidson talks us through what customers can expect:

“When [customers] call, we spend a lot of time finding out about their individual situation and working out their budget for the next month. We find that because people aren’t going out to bars, cafes and restaurants, going to shows and movies, not using their cars or impulse spending, they often have more money left than they think.

“People really appreciate the help that extends beyond paying their car loan, to work out solutions. Of course, there are people that are badly affected by the pandemic, therefore, we can make special allowances for them too. We always work something out that is a solution for both of us.

“Don’t panic! Because, with MTF Finance, you can talk directly to the person who gave you the loan. We can work something out.”

Our internal changes

We know the importance of looking after our people. Credit and Compliance Manager Yoel George and her team have moved quickly to support local offices, so they can continue to support their customers.

“We’ve had to be able to pivot and adapt in order to respond to the changes as they come up,” Yoel says.

Our offices nationwide are busy supporting each other as well as their customers, sharing tips on how to help in their communities and keeping connected with virtual Zoom meetings.

“We definitely see that there’s going to be a range of adaptations that we’ll have to make to our processes and how we look after our customers,” Yoel says.

“We’re motivated to make sure that we are helping our customers during this time, and that’s the driving force.”

Look after yourself

Lastly - and most importantly - look after yourself and look after your community.

Remember that we’re all a bit stressed, tired, and living in an uncertain world at the moment. Be as patient and understanding as you can. Keep an eye out for people who are less fortunate, and if you know someone who could use a hand shopping or running errands, offer to help them out.

Be kind to your neighbours, your friends and whanau, as well as the people in your ‘bubble’.