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Business loans for SMEs affected by the coronavirus outbreak

If your business is struggling in the face of the pandemic, find out what finance options can help.

Last updated:

We'll continue to update this page with resources and information as new details emerge in the world's response to COVID-19.

It's been a rocky start to the new decade for Aussie businesses, to say the least. Businesses still recovering from the impact of the bushfires are now having to face cancelled events, dwindling customers and supply chain disruptions as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. It's taking a real toll on companies, particularly SMEs.

If you're a business owner and you're facing financial issues as a result of the pandemic, there might be low or no-cost financing options that can help. Find out more about what business loan options are available during the coronavirus outbreak below.

Update: 20 March 2020

A Small Business Relief Package has been announced for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19. The relief package, which has been authorised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and implemented by the Australian Banking Association (ABA) and the banks, will defer all principal and interest payments for loans to small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19. It is available to businesses in any sector.

Any small business who has not already been contacted by their bank about the Small Business Relief Package is being urged to get in touch with their bank. Banks have already begun contacting their customers and the packages will start rolling out in full on Monday.

Find out more details about this relief package here.

Where to find financial help for your business during the coronavirus outbreak

The ATO, national and state governments and the banks are offering businesses various forms of support during this time of crisis.

The ATO

Business owners who are struggling as a result of coronavirus impact are being offered help by the ATO. If you need help paying your existing and ongoing tax liabilities for your business, you can contact the ATO to discuss a low interest payment plan. The ATO is also allowing businesses to defer tax payments for 4-6 months.

As of 12 March 2020 and until 30 June 2020, the ATO has also increased the instant asset tax write-off from $30,000 to $150,000 and the qualifying turnover bracket from $50 million per year to $500 million per year. This means that any business with an annual turnover of $500 million or less can instantly write-off any business purchase under $150,000.

National and state governments

The Australian government is making attempts to support small businesses throughout this time. Updates regarding assistance and taxation changes for SMEs are being made regularly. You can find out what your options are here.Updates are as follows:

12 March 2020

A $17.6 billion package was announced to assist households and small businesses.

22 March 2020:

A further $66 billion stimulus package was announced to aid citizens and small businesses during the outbreak.

Update 30 March 2020:

The government has announced a $130 billion wage subsidy package to support businesses and employees. Businesses may be eligible to receive up to $1,500 per employee on a fortnightly basis. This would then be passed on in full to eligible workers.

Government backed business loans

New business loans backed by the government are currently being made available to businesses across Australia. These government-backed business loans under the recently announced Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme, are loans of up to $250,000 that are available to eligible Australian SMEs. These loans will all be unsecured with terms of up to three years with no repayments required for six months. There will also be no interest charged on these loans for unused funds - borrowers are only charged on what they draw down. Loans under this scheme also have no fees attached. The following banks are participating in this scheme:

Lender
Loans
ANZ
ANZ has confirmed that it will be participating with the scheme. However, it is still finalising how it is planning on providing government-backed loans to its customers.More info
Bankwest
Bankwest has also confirmed that it will be providing lower rate loans that comply with the terms of the scheme. The exact rates of these loans are yet to be released.More info
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank recently announced that the partnership will be participating in the scheme, but is still finalising the details of the loans.More info
Commonwealth Bank
CommBank announced that it would be making up to $10 billion in funds available for extra small business loans in line with the scheme. The bank also said that interest rates on the new unsecured loans would be 5 percentage points lower than normal.
NAB
NAB has also agreed to partake in the government's Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme. Business loans up to $250,000 will be available from NAB at a rate of 4.5% with no repayments for the first six months.More info
Suncorp
Suncorp also announced that it will be taking part in the scheme, but is still finalising the details of its loans.

Please note that new banks are still pending approval for participation in this scheme.

The Small Business Relief Package

The ACCC has provided an urgent interim authorisation which will allow the ABA and Australian banks to implement a small business relief package. This package will allow banks to defer principal and interest payments for loans to small businesses for six months if they have been affected by COVID-19.

Businesses with existing loans are encouraged to get in touch with their bank if they haven't been contacted about their loans yet.

How the Small Business Relief Package will work

If your business is eligible for relief, your principal and interest payments will be delayed on all term and retail loans for a 6-month period. At the end of the period, you will not be required to pay the deferred interest in a lump sum. To repay the loan, the term of the loan will be extended or your repayments will be increased.

Banks can also choose to offer more favourable and tailored terms to small businesses who experience financial hardship.

Is my bank offering the Small Business Relief Package?
The banks which have agreed to participate include the following:

  • AMP Bank
  • ANZ
  • Bank Australia
  • Bank of Queensland (BoQ)
  • Bankwest
  • Bendigo and Adelaide Bank
  • CommBank
  • HSBC
  • Macquarie Bank
  • NAB
  • Suncorp
  • Westpac

Can I qualify?

The relief package is available to small businesses affected by COVID-19 in any sector. You need to have less than $3 million in total debt owed to credit providers.

How do I apply?

Banks have already started reaching out to their customers about the package and it will start rolling out in full on Monday. If you have not heard from your bank, you can get in contact with them directly.

Queensland is offering $500 million in loans

Queensland is currently offering interest-free loans of up to $250,000 to businesses. These loans are available interest-free for 12 months and aim to help businesses cover costs and keep staff employed.

Tasmania is offering $20 million in small business support loans

The Tasmanian government has allocated $20 million towards interest-free loans for hospitality, tourism, seafood and export businesses with an annual turnover of less than $5 million. You can apply for a loan to purchase equipment or restructure business operations, with a maximum interest-free period of up to three years.

How to protect your business and employees during the coronavirus outbreak

As a business owner, it's your responsibility to take measures to protect your employees during this time.

  • Send sick employees home. This one goes without saying, but if someone is showing symptoms, they should be sent home immediately.
  • Remote working. If your employees can work from home, it's advisable to allow them to. People can carry the virus without showing symptoms. Slack, Zoom and Skype are your new best friends.
  • Disinfect the workplace. If your employees can't work from home, it's important to keep a clean environment. Ensure that common areas and surfaces are clean, especially door handles, desks and keyboards. And stock up on hand sanitiser.
  • Leave reminders on hygiene. While most people shouldn't require a reminder, some may. Hang posters reminding employees to wash their hands frequently and sneeze and cough into tissues. Encourage employees to avoid handshakes and contact where possible.
  • Apply for financing. Even if you're unsure as to whether you may need finance right now, things can take a turn for the worse very quickly. Ensure the safety of your employees by applying for a government grant, interest-free loan or business loan.

Compare small business loans

Updated April 6th, 2020
Name Product Min. Loan Amount Max. Loan Amount Loan Term Upfront Fee
OnDeck Business Loans
$10,000
$250,000
6 months to 2 years
2.5% of loan amount
Apply for up to $250,000 and receive your approved funds in one business day. Minimum annual turnover of $100,000 and 1 year of trading history required.
ANZ Secured Business Loan
$10,000
$10,000,000
Up to 15 years
$600
You can choose a fixed or variable interest rate
Benefit from a low rate when you secure this loan with property and/or business assets. Loans from $10,000 available.
Prospa Business Loan
$5,000
$300,000
3 months to 3 years
3% origination fee
Small business loans are available from $5,000 - $300,000 on terms of up to 3 years. At least six months trading history and a monthly turnover from $6,000 is necessary.
Westpac Business Loan
$5,000
$1,000,000
1 to 30 years
$0 application fee
Purchase a new vehicle, equipment or support your cash flow with a business finance solution from Westpac.
Valiant Finance Business Loan Broker
$5,000
$1,000,000
3 months to 5 years
$0 application fee
A Business Lending Specialist from Valiant Finance can give you access to competitive business loans from over 70 lenders. Loans between $5,000 and $1 million are available. Request a call – your loan can be funded in 1 business day.
Max Funding Unsecured Business Loan
$2,000
$300,000
1 month to 1 year
$0 application fee
An unsecured business loan from $2,000 that offers convenient pre-approval and no early repayment fees.
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