Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh announced on Friday a small-business relief package from Australia’s banks, which will see loan repayments for small businesses affected by the coronavirus deferred by six months.
“This assistance 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 as they battle through these difficult times,” Ms Bligh said.
“This is a multibillion-dollar lifeline for small businesses when they need it most, to help keep the doors open and keep people in jobs.”
She revealed that banks are putting in place a fast-tracked approval process 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.
“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 are the most vulnerable part of the economy and have the most urgent need for assistance.”
She told small businesses that they 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,” she said.
Any small business who has not already been contacted is being advised to contact their bank to apply.
Banks have developed this small-business relief package following discussions with APRA and ASIC to provide the appropriate regulatory treatment. The package is subject to authorisation by the ACCC.