Banks come out in support of government SME scheme extension

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has extended and expanded the measures to help small businesses through the pandemic

Banks come out in support of government SME scheme extension


By Mike Wood

Several major banks have come out in support of the government’s extension of the SME Recovery Loan Scheme.

The scheme was amended by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg yesterday, with an extension until the end of the year and an expansion that means that businesses no longer have to have received JobKeeper this year to be eligible.

CBA, NAB and Westpac all came out in support of the Treasury’s extension.

“The impacts of the pandemic are widespread and diverse across businesses and industry sectors,” said CBA’s Mike Vacy-Lyle, group executive for business banking. “Many require access to credit to help them through this period, and the expansion of SMERLS is an excellent initiative to ensure that more businesses will be able to access business lending at low rates and on flexible terms.”

“At CBA we are firmly committed to supporting the SME sector, which is so vital to Australia’s economic recovery. We funded more than half of all the loans issued under the first phase of the scheme, and we plan to play a leading role in the expanded SME Recovery Loan scheme.”

Westpac’s CEO Peter King said that his bank was on hand to offer support under the scheme.  

“The SME Recovery Loans help small businesses access funding to keep their businesses going until lockdowns are lifted and the economy gets back on track,” he said.
“We know many small businesses are doing it tough and this important initiative provides further assistance directly to small businesses.”

“We encourage any business customers worried about their finances to give us a call so we can work through what help may be available for them.”

NAB said that now was the time to support SMEs, and to get vaccinated.

“As Australia’s largest business bank, we remain ready to support our customers that need help,” said Andrew Irvine, group executive business and private bank.

“We have thousands of bankers around the country ready to help our customers get through this. Our bankers will work with customers to understand their situation and what we can do to support them.”

“We encourage everyone out there to get behind their local small businesses. There’s no better time to buy local. “
“It’s promising to see vaccination rates rising across the country. When you’re eligible, please get vaccinated; it’s clear vaccination is the pathway out of this. Let’s all do our part in fighting this virus and unlocking greater freedoms again.”

It wasn’t just big banks, too. Fintech lender Moneytech, who had previously criticised the government over their SME Guarantee Schemes, welcomed the changes.

“This is a fantastic announcement for small and medium businesses across Australia,” said Moneytech CEO Nick McGrath.

“With the extended lockdowns across the country, particularly in New South Wales and Victoria, we have seen a material uplift in SMEs requesting working capital support to help them through the pandemic.”

“The changes announced this morning will be a welcome relief to many SMEs who will now be able to access funds that they were previously ineligible for.”

“Under the SME Loan Recovery Scheme, Moneytech have been able to originate in excess of $60m worth of lending facilities supporting over 150 SMEs.”

“These changes will allow us to support even more clients and referral partners across our Line-of-Credit, Trade Finance & Debtor Finance products.”

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