Banks to defer billions in payments on small business loans

- March 20, 2020 2 MIN READ

Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh said to help small businesses impacted by Covid-19, banks will offer all small businesses with business loans a deferral of payments for six months.

Bligh said this was put in place to help those most in need. The package is set to deliver across $100 billion worth of business loans and according to Bligh will “deliver up to $8 billion back into the pockets of small businesses”.

The CEO said all small businesses who are impacted by Covid-19 will be entitled to this deferral of payments for six months. Any businesses that are in critical need can register their need with the banks.

Bligh said the banks want every small business to know they can get all loans associated with their business deferred.

“All those businesses will have to do is to register their need with their bank.

“Banks are not going to wait for businesses to come to them — they are, right now, out in the field, talking to their business customers, putting things out through their customer channels, and telling customers how they can reach their bank to access this deferral of payments.”

At present, the loan deferrals only apply to small business, with Bligh saying the banks are not looking to apply relief to home loans at this time.

“Banks have today made a very important decision to help those in critical need  – and that is small businesses –if we see that need in other areas, such as mortgages they may look to that too.”

Bligh acknowledged the situation is evolving.

“As we see trends in other parts of banking, we will do what we can to respond.

“Getting through this will require a great deal of cooperation between banks and government and regulators.”

Banks will be looking to work with any business in the small to medium category.

“We won’t look to draw arbitrary lines to define them – this is about getting relief as quickly as possible to the hands of businesses.”

Bligh went on to assure Australians that we have one of the most strong and stable banking systems in the world

“We are better capitalised than ever. Banks stand ready, open for business and ready to lend. We have ten years of work to increase our capital buffer – we do this to have the funds there when needed. Australian banks big and small are equipped to deal with this crisis.”

“We are now in extraordinary and very difficult times. We need to see all institutions working together and cooperatively. We have stood side by side to make sure we can all offer same access to support for customers, no matter who they bank with.”

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