The Australian Banking Association has announced Australian banks will defer loan repayments for small businesses affected by coronavirus for six months.
The Small Business Relief Package will apply to more than $100 billion of existing small business loans and, depending on customer take up, could put as much as $8 billion back into the pockets of small businesses.
“Small businesses are the most vulnerable part of the economy and present the most pressing need for assistance,” Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh says.
“This is a multi-billion dollar lifeline for small businesses when they need it most, to help keep the doors open and keep people in jobs.”
She says banks are putting a fast track approval process in place to ensure customers receive support as soon as possible.
“While this is first and foremost a health crisis, this pandemic has begun to have serious impacts across the economy, with small businesses beginning to feel the devastating effects,” Anna says.
“Over the last few days banks have worked closely with the Treasurer and the Government to identify measures to support the economy through this crisis. Small businesses employ five million Australians and this package is designed to help them keep doing just that.”
She says any small business which has not already been contacted should contact their bank to apply.
“Small businesses can rest assured that if they need help, they will get it. Banks are already reaching out to their customers to offer assistance and packages will start rolling out in full on Monday,” Anna says.
“Australia’s banks have supported the country through difficult times in the past and continue to do so.”
Banks have developed this Small Business Relief Package following discussions with Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and Australian Securities and Investments Commission to provide the appropriate regulatory treatment.
The package is subject to authorisation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.