As of 27 May, banks have concluded 10,145 “JobKeeper loans” to the tune of some $521 million, with an additional $1.45 billion being rolled out to small and medium-sized firms under the SME guarantee scheme, the Australian Banking Association (ABA) has revealed.
In April, the Treasurer confirmed the big four will expedite loan applications lodged by JobKeeper applicants to help them pay their employees while they wait for the government’s $1,500 wage subsidy.
“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 said at the time.
The ABA has now confirmed that these loans, dubbed “JobKeeper loans”, have helped over 10,000 customers, putting over $520 million in their pockets under expedited procedure.
Additionally, the ABA confirmed that total new business lending has surpassed $100 billion, with 88,390 contracts concluded up to 27 May.
Of that, SMEs make up the largest chunk or 52,448 loans, while sole traders have concluded 13,362 new loan contracts.
As for loan deferrals, that number has now hit 744,904 with a total value of $224.4 billion.
Business loans deferred add up to 211,292 or $58.3 billion, while mortgages stand at 457,660, totalling more than $165 billion.
Mid-May, ABA CEO Anna Bligh said: “Australian families who are financially affected by this crisis have had the breathing space they need with a six-month deferral on their home loan repayment while they chart a path through to the other side of this downturn.”
However, concerns have now surfaced around that post-September period when all government stimulus packages, including loan deferrals, are due to cease, meaning businesses will be hit by many overdue bills.
Late last week, Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe stressed that the government will need to support the economy until it recovers, by possibly extending programs such as JobKeeper.
Addressing his words, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday: “That’s an option for the government to consider.
“We are planning to ensure that the economy and jobs get the support they need to get us through this crisis and to get us out the other side. JobKeeper and JobSeeker, and how they’re currently framed, have got their legislative time frame heading out to the end of September.
“But it is important to ensure that we come out of this crisis strongly and we continue to create jobs in our economy. And so, we’ve always been flexible about how we manage this.”