Banks deliver more support, extend repayment relief to 30,000 businesses

By Niko Iliakis ·

A further 30,000 Australian businesses will be able to defer business loan repayments following an expansion to the Australian Banking Association’s Small Business Relief Package on Sunday.

Previously, only businesses with lending limits of up to $3 million were able to access a six-month deferral of loan payments. The changes will see that threshold increased to $10 million.

According to the ABA, this will provide cover for 98% of businesses with a loan from an Australian bank. 

ABA CEO, Anna Bligh said the latest round of support will help keep small businesses humming at a time when many are struggling to stay afloat.

“As this crisis has deepened and more businesses are affected we are building on the Small Business Relief package to ensure more businesses are given a lifeline to help them survive through the coronavirus pandemic,” she said.

RELATED: Guide to Australia’s coronavirus financial support for small businesses

Commercial property landlords will also benefit, on the condition they refrain from terminating leases or evicting current tenants for not paying rent as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

“This will help protect many more thousands of small businesses from being evicted if they are struggling to pay the rent as it covers approximately 90% of commercial property owners who have loans with an Australian bank,” Ms Bligh said.

“Where landlords within this threshold do the right thing by their tenants, banks will do the right thing by them.”

The major banks have been quick to voice their support for the new measures.

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

Westpac Chief Executive Business, Guil Lima added that “these are unprecedented times and they call for strong, meaningful actions”. 

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

Over the past two weeks, several measures have been introduced to help reduce some of the uncertainty Australian businesses are currently facing. For more information, read our overview of financial support available to small businesses.