ABA expands COVID-19 relief for businesses

98% of all businesses with a loan from an Australian bank now able to access financial support

ABA expands COVID-19 relief for businesses


By Madison Utley

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) yesterday expanded its Small Business Relief Package to include 30,000 more businesses across the country, meaning 98% of all businesses with a loan from an Australian bank are now included.

Among the key updates was the threshold for businesses being able to defer loan repayments for six months being extended from $3m to businesses with total loan facilities of up to $10m.

The new measures also cover around 90% of Australian commercial landlords, provided they do not terminate leases or evict current tenants for rent arrears as a result of COVID-19, to help thousands of SMEs “hibernate” through the coronavirus crisis.

“When combined with the previous small business assistance announced just over a week ago, this means $250bn worth of loans covered are able to access a six month deferral of payments, which means dollars staying in the pockets of businesses throughout this crisis,” said ABA CEO Anna Bligh.


CBA responded by announcing additional loan repayment deferrals, automatic merchant fee waivers, and tailored assistance for larger businesses.

More than 99% of CBA’s business customers are now eligible for loan repayment deferrals.

The other new support measures include:

  • Expanding the offer of six-month loan repayment deferrals from businesses with lending limits $5m to $10m
  • Automatically waiving merchant fees for three months for 70,000 small business customers
  • Specialised support for larger business customers impacted by coronavirus

“The economic, physical and personal impact of the coronavirus will be severe. 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 CBA CEO Matt Comyn.

Westpac also expanded its relief package threshold to $10m, providing more businesses the option of deferring principal and interest repayments for six months.

With this extension, 98% of Westpac’s business customers have access to support if they have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.

“This is about offering immediate and practical assistance to help more of our customers in need,” said Westpac chief executive of business Guil Lima.

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


ANZ also welcomed the additional industry support for businesses impacted by COVID-19, but did not tweak its relief measures announced the week before. 

“While ANZ’s original COVID-19 relief package already covered these larger businesses, we welcome this industry-wide initiative and hope it provides vital relief for these businesses and the Australians they employ in these challenging times,” said ANZ MD of commercial banking Isaac Rankin.

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