In the two weeks since the launch of the government's Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme, a major bank has approved more than $150m in loans for small and medium businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
CBA customers have been able to apply for the loans from Monday, 23 March. As of Monday, 6 April, $150m in loans had been approved for more than 1,850 businesses across Australia.
“We worked around the clock and pulled out all stops to make sure we were ready to start taking applications for these loans the day after the government announced the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme,” said CBA group executive of business and private banking, Mike Vacy-Lyle.
“The situation demanded an immediate response because so many businesses need immediate access to capital.
“These loans will help a lot of businesses stay afloat, and keep a lot of people in jobs."
Of the $150m, nearly 70% are for businesses in NSW and Victoria – 43% claimed by the former and 26% the latter.
Around one in six of the businesses approved for the loans are in hospitality (15%), with construction (13%), professional services (12%) and retail (11%) businesses also claiming a significant chunk of the aid.
The Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme enables businesses with annual turnovers up to $50m to apply for three-year, unsecured loans of up to $250,000 with no establishment fees, no account fees, no repayments for up to six months, and interest rates from 4.5%.
According to Vacy-Lyle, CBA is ready to lend “much more”.
“This is just the start,” he said.
“Many businesses that were operating very well prior to this pandemic are now faced with an unexpected and significant challenge.
“We stand ready to help them. These loans, and a range of other support measures we have available, will get many businesses through to the other side.”