In the wake of the COVID-19 developments, Australian banks have announced they will defer loan repayments for small businesses that have been affected by the virus.

The relief package will be in place for six months and is supported by 22 Australian banks – including the big four.

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) has worked closely with the Treasurer and Government to formulate the package which began rolling out on March 23.

ABA CEO Anna Bligh said that small businesses require extensive support during this pandemic.

“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 $8 billion back into the pockets of small businesses as they battle through these difficult times.

“This is a multi-billiondollar lifeline for small businesses when they need it most, to help keep the doors open and keep people in jobs.

“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.

“Small businesses are the most vulnerable part of the economy and have the most urgent need for assistance.

“Small businesses employ five million Australians and this package is designed to help them keep doing just that.

“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,” she said.

Any small business that has not been contacted is encouraged to contact their bank and apply.

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