Last Friday, the Australian Banking Association (ABA) announced a small business relief package, which includes a provision for Australian banks to defer loan repayments for six months for small businesses who need assistance due to the impact of COVID-19.
“This assistance package will apply to more than $100bn of existing small business loans and, depending on customer take up, could put as much as $8bn back into the pockets of small businesses as they battle through these difficult times,” said ABA CEO Anna Bligh.
“This is a multi billion dollar lifeline for small businesses when they need it most, to help keep the doors open and keep people in jobs.”
According to Bligh, Australian banks are also moving to implement a fast track loan approval process to ensure customers are able to receive support as soon as possible.
“While this is first and foremost a health crisis, this pandemic has begun to have serious impacts across the economy, with small businesses beginning to feel the devastating effects,” said Bligh.
“Small businesses are the most vulnerable part of the economy and have the most urgent need for assistance. [They] employ 5 million Australians and this package is designed to help them keep doing just that.”
The ABA is working closely with Treasury and the government to identify further measures to support the economy through this crisis.
“Small businesses can rest assured that if they need help, they will get it. Banks are already reaching out to their customers to offer assistance and packages will start rolling out in full on Monday,” said Bligh.
Small businesses are being encouraged to reach out to their banks to learn more about the options available to them.