CommBank, Westpac, ANZ, NAB release low rate business loans under SME Recovery Scheme: are you eligible?
In a bid to support small business recovery after JobKeeper, all of Australia’s big four banks have started offering low rate business loans of up to $5 million since April 1.
These loans are available through the government’s new SME loan guarantee scheme, which has been expanded and extended for the second time since its introduction back in March last year.
Now in its third phase, the scheme is open to the following businesses:
- Those who received JobKeeper payments between 4 January and 28 March 2021 and have a turnover of less than $250 million
- Those impacted by the recent Queensland and NSW floods.
To be eligible, you’ll also need to apply and be approved before 31 December, 2021.
One of the big differences with Phase 3 is that the government has promised to guarantee 80% of eligible loans, as opposed to the 50% in previous versions. In practical terms, this means businesses could potentially access even cheaper funding from participating banks including the big four.
So what are the big four banks - Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ and NAB - proposing to provide its small business customers under the scheme? Let’s take a look.
Right now eligible businesses under the scheme can apply for variable rate loans of up to $5 million with CommBank. Rates will vary depending on your loan type as well as whether or not you’ve opted for a repayment holiday, and they start from:
- 2.60% p.a. for secured loans
- 2.85% p.a. for secured loans with a 12-month repayment holiday
- 3.25% p.a. for unsecured loans
- 4.75% p.a. for unsecured loans with a 12-month repayment holiday
According to CommBank, its new rates are up to 75 basis points more competitive than its government-guaranteed loans from last year.
“These lower-cost loans will help businesses to invest in assets like equipment and machinery, and will also support longer term investments that underpin growth and jobs. Businesses will be able to use the scheme to refinance existing loans,” CommBank’s group executive of business banking, Mike Vacy-Lyle said.
Unlike Commbank, Westpac have only made fully or partially secured business loans of up to $5 million available to borrowers under the scheme.
Variable rates range from 2.58% p.a. up to 4.28% p.a. depending on a few factors including your loan term and your security type (excludes residential property). For instance, you can expect rates from:
- 2.58% p.a. for fully secured loans over 3 or 5 years
- 3.48% p.a. for fully secured loans over 10 years
If you need further breathing space, you can also take a repayment holiday with these loans. Just bear in mind this option does come with cons including higher rates and interest capitalisation. The latter means you’ll continue to accrue interest over the deferred period, which could increase your amount owed in the long run.
Westpac’s chief executive consumer and business banking, Chris de Bruin encouraged businesses that need more time and support to get back on their feet to apply.
“From tourism operators in Queensland, to hospitality business owners in South Australia, we have had strong interest from customers in accessing the SME Recovery Loan Scheme to help them get through the challenges ahead,” he said.
As another supporter of the government’s SME recovery scheme, ANZ is also offering variable rate business loans of up to $5 million over terms of up to 10 years to eligible borrowers. While ANZ hasn’t publicly specified its interest rates under the scheme, the big bank has said that your rate may depend on factors like your credit rating and financial circumstances.
Eligible borrowers will be able to choose between secured or unsecured (excluding residential property) loans. ANZ’s government-backed loans will also include an option to defer repayments for 12 months, with interest capitalised. And should you need more support on this front, you could possibly defer payments for another 12 months.
Like ANZ, NAB has yet to publicise its rates under the scheme but the big bank has said that eligible borrowers can take out either a secured business loan up to $5 million or an unsecured loan up to $250,000. Once again, you could opt to defer repayments for 12 months, with interest capitalised.
What can I use these big bank business loans for?
The good news is, under the government’s new scheme, eligible businesses could be able to use the extra finance for just about any commercial or business purpose. This includes:
- Additional working capital to boost day-to-day cashflow
- Covering big ticket purchases such as equipment or machinery
- Purchasing property for your business
- Refinancing an existing business loan (to access a cheaper rate).
Read our article for more information on the government’s SME Recovery Scheme, or head on over to our business loans comparison hub to check out other finance options for your small business.