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Australia's Commonwealth Bank to offer relief measures after Sydney lockdown

June 25 (Reuters) - Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the country’s largest lender, said on Friday it will offer loan deferrals and other relief measures to customers impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown in Sydney.

Downtown Sydney and the city’s eastern suburbs will go into a one-week lockdown from midnight on Friday as authorities struggle to contain a jump in the highly contagious Delta COVID-19 variant in Australia’s most populous city.

Sydney-based CBA will allow retail customers and small- and medium-size businesses to restructure loans, waive certain fees, and switch to fixed-rate home loans, among other measures.

The bank will also freeze forced sales until September for retail customers struggling to pay back loans.

Around 36% of the bank’s housing loans are in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, according to Jefferies.

The decision to reintroduce support measures come as house prices skyrocket, especially in Sydney, thanks to record-low borrowing rates and government incentives that have pushed up demand. (Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

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