Australian banks step up relief for Aussie businesses


The Australian Banking Association has extended its Small Business Relief Package to include 98 per cent of all businesses with an Australian bank loan.

The coronavirus-inspired package now allows businesses with total loan facilities of up to $10 million to defer loan repayments for six months.

The package also covers the vast majority of Australian commercial landlords so long as they don’t terminate leases or evict tenants for rent arrears in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

ABA chief executive Anna Bligh says the move allows small-to-medium enterprises to hibernate during the crisis.

“When combined with the previous small business assistance announced just over a week ago, this means $250 billion worth of loans covered are able to access a six-month deferral of payments, which means dollars staying in the pockets of businesses throughout the crisis,” she told Broker News.

The Commonwealth Bank in response extended their loan payment referrals meaning more than 99 per cent of their business customers are now eligible for loan repayment deferrals.

“The economic, physical and personal impact of the coronavirus will be severe,” CBA chief executive Matt Comyn told Broker News.

“We are dealing with the health crisis which is precipitating a significant economic shock, and the most vulnerable in our community are especially in need of our collective support.”

Westpac wasn’t far behind, extending its relief package threshold to $10 million to give support access to 98 per cent of its business customers affected by the crisis.

“This is about offering immediate and practical assistance to help more of our customers in need,” Westpac CEO Guil Lima told Broker News.

“Ultimately, what’s most important is ensuring business – and the economy – can come out the other side of this.”

At the ANZ, managing director of commercial banking Isaac Rankin welcomed the additional industry support.

“While ANZ’s original COVID-19 relief package already covered these larger businesses, we welcome this industry-wide initiative and hope it provides vital relief for these businesses and the Australians they employ in these challenging times,” he told Broker News.


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