Banks throw small businesses and sole traders a lockdown lifeline

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) has announced its members are introducing a range of measures to support customers struggling through the lockdowns in New South Wales and Victoria.

Help – including loan payment deferrals – are being made available for businesses, sole traders and households.

“As the lockdowns get worse, customers can rest assured that their bank will have their back,” ABA CEO Anna Bligh said.

“[The] announcement in NSW means more businesses, construction workers and tradies will be unable to work in the coming weeks. If they are struggling financially, the best thing they can do is call their bank. Throughout the pandemic, Australian banks have worked with Government to support those most affected. They’re determined to see customers through the worst,” Bligh said.

The national support package for all small businesses and home loan customers significantly impacted by lockdowns will apply across the country.

The key support measures are:

Business banking repayment deferrals
  • Up to three-month repayment deferrals, with loan terms extended accordingly
  • Offered to all small business customers (business lending less than $3m and a turnover of less than $5m), covering up to 98 per cent of the country’s small businesses
  • Only for loans in good standing (i.e. repayments up to date or engaged in a payment program with their bank).
Everyday banking support
  • Refunds of merchant terminal fees for up to three months
  • Waiving of fees and notice periods on Cash Deposit and Farm Management Deposit accounts for up to three months.
Home loan support
  • Range of support measures, including deferrals on a month by month basis
  • Available to both individual and business customers.