Thousands of businesses waiting for the JobKeeper payments will see their loan applications placed at the front of the queue, as the big four banks commit to expediting the processing of those applications to help businesses pay their staff.
The Treasurer confirmed each bank will set up its own hotline for businesses to get their hands on “bridging finance”.
“They have agreed to set up, each of these four major banks, a dedicated hotline for their customers to call to receive the bridging finance necessary to pay their staff ahead of receiving that money under the JobKeeper program,” Josh Frydenberg told media on Thursday, following a telephone conference with the four bank CEOs and the Tax Commissioner.
“They have also agreed to expedite the processing of all those applications to the front of the queue.”
The Treasurer advised: “If you are a business or a not-for-profit operation that is eligible for the JobKeeper payment, as required, you need to pay your staff ahead of receiving the money from the Tax Office.
“Go to your bank, ring their hotline, ask for that support, and that support will be forthcoming.”
‘Step up to the mark’
Addressing the banks, the Prime Minister said he expects them to “step up to the mark” and reduce lags in processing.
While providing an update on the JobSeeker and JobKeeper package, PM Morrison said 587,686 JobSeeker applications have been processed so far and called on the banks to “step up”, too.
“For these arrangements to work, we need the continued, strong co-operation from the banking sector and for the superannuation sector.”
Scott Morrison said he is aware that there has been some frustration, among some businesses in particular, in accessing bridging finance with banks, following reports that many are unable to get loans to pay workers while they wait for the government’s $1,500 wage subsidy.
“We are aware of that. I have no doubt that banks are aware of that. And we need to be addressing that early on in this crisis,” the PM said.
“The bank’s decision to pass on the cash rate reductions and to provide waivers of various arrangements for businesses and individuals is very much welcome and it’s to be continued.
“It’s important the bank step up to the mark here.”
Super early release
Addressing also the early access to super, the Treasurer confirmed that the ATO has approved 456,000 applications, totalling $3.8 billion.
He said: “Those applications are now with the superannuation funds for their payment over the next five days.
“The average withdrawal is around $8,000. And just to remind you that you can access up to $10,000 from your super this financial year and up to another $10,000 next financial year.”