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Government-backed business loans

Find out what government-backed loans are available for your business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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On 22 March 2020 the Australian government unveiled its second wave stimulus package aimed at helping Aussies survive the impact of COVID-19 on the economy. Out of this package has come a scheme that will see the government back 50% of new loans for small businesses from participating banks and lenders. This will provide much-needed working capital of up to $40 billion to businesses.

Businesswoman wearing mask in the office during COVID-19 pandemic.

What is a government-backed business loan?

A government-backed business loan is a loan that the government provides a guarantee to the lender on. For COVID-19 government-backed business loans, this guarantee is 50% of the funding amount. Having a partial guarantee on the funds means that lenders are able to offer loans to customers at lower rates. It also means that lenders can be less stringent than they may normally be with their lending criteria. This therefore enables lenders to offer more loans to people in need who may not have otherwise qualified for funding.

Coronavirus Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Guarantee Scheme

The COVID-19 government-backed business loans, known as the 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 and no repayments will be required for six months. On top of this, businesses will only be charged interest on the amount that they draw down. No interest will be charged on unused funds. The loans will also have no establishment or monthly fees attached.

Rates for loans under the scheme will differ depending on the lender and the circumstances of the borrowing business, but generally these loans will have lower rates than standard business loans.

When will the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme loans be available?

Loans under the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme will be available from early April until 30 September 2020. The exact date the loans launch will vary somewhat depending on the participating lender.

How do I qualify?

To qualify for a government-backed business loan your business must have an annual turnover of less than $50 million.

Which banks are offering government-backed business loans?

The following banks are offering government-backed loans, as well as other forms of financial assistance, to support small businesses affected by COVID-19:

Lender
Assistance
ANZ
ANZ has confirmed that it will be participating with the scheme and applications are now open. New business loan customers can apply for loans under the scheme in the form of:
  • A three-year business loan of up to $250,000, with a six-month deferral on repayments (with interest capitalised)
  • A six-month business overdraft of up to $250,000, with a six-month deferral of interest. After the six months, borrowers will have the option of fully repaying the overdraft or rolling the balance into a term loan for up to 2.5 years

Other ANZ COVID-19 support measures include:

  • 0.25% p.a. reduction in variable small business loan rates, effective from 27 March 2020
  • 0.5% p.a. overall rate cut in March
  • 0.8% p.a. drop (to 2.59%) for fixed 2-year and 3-year rates for secured business loans up to $1 million
  • Six-month repayment deferrals, with interest capitalised
  • Temporary increases in overdraft facilities for 12 months
More info
Bank of Queensland
The Bank of Queensland is offering up to $250,000 in unsecured overdrafts for new and existing business customers under the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme.

BOQ is also offering the following measures to support existing business loan customers:

  • 0.35% p.a. interest rate reduction for business term loans and business overdrafts effective as of 3 April 2020.
  • Six month loan repayment deferral
  • The ability to switch your repayments to interest only for up to 12 months
  • Waiver or deferral for a range of fees and charges
More info
Bankwest
Bankwest is also providing lower rate government backed loans that comply with the terms of the scheme that are now available to new business customers affected by COVID-19.

Other support measures to business customers affected by COVID-19 from Bankwest include:

  • Six-month deferrals on scheduled loan repayments, including equipment finance loans
  • Waiving merchant terminal rental and service fees for 90 days
  • Waiving reductions in interest for early pre-payment of business term deposits
  • Tailored restructuring options for loan customers
  • Waiving establishment fees on overdraft products
More info
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank's new business loans under the SME Guarantee Scheme are effective as of 3 April 2020.

In addition to providing these loans, other coronavirus relief measures for businesses include:

  • Six-month deferrals on business loan repayments, including equipment loans for eligible businesses
  • Fee waivers for restructuring of consolidation of loans
  • Waiver of interest rate reduction for early term deposit withdrawals
  • Deferral of interest payments or term extensions
  • Waiver or deferral for a range of fees and charges
  • A reduction of 1% p.a. on residentially secured business loan variable rates
  • A reduction of 0.75% p.a. on non-residential and unsecured business loan rates
More info
Commonwealth Bank
CommBank announced that it is 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 have 5% p.a. lower interest rates than normal.

In addition to these measures, CommBank also has these relief measures in place:

  • Six-month deferrals on business loan repayments, including equipment loans (this deferral will be automatic from April to June 2020 and if needed, businesses can opt in for an additional three months)
  • Three-month waiver of merchant and terminal fees
  • Waiving of early redraw fees for business term deposits
More info
Heritage Bank
Heritage Bank is now offering government backed business loans under the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme and applications are now open. New and existing applicants can apply. Details are:
  • Maximum loan amount of $250,000 per borrower
  • Minimum loan amount of $20,000
  • Maximum loan term of 3 years
  • Security not required
  • No repayments for initial 6 months of loan term (interest will be capitalised to the loan)

Heritage also offers the following COVID-19 relief measures:

  • Reduce all business banking lending interest rates (except SMSF and credit cards) by 1.00% p.a. effective 1 April 2020
  • Deferral of business loan repayments for up to 6 months, with interest capitalised
  • Waiver of arrears fees and default fees for lending products for 6 months
  • Early redemption in term deposits and farm management deposit accounts, without fees or penalties
  • Additional working capital and loan restructures to be considered for business banking customers
More info
Moula
Moula is also participating in the scheme, with loans available now to new business customers.

Additional help to existing business customers from Moula includes:

  • Rearranging payments based on each individual customer's needs
More info
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% p.a. with no repayments for the first six months.

The following relief measures are also already in place:

  • Three-month deferral on business loan repayments
  • Extending business loan terms
  • Help with restructuring business and equipment loans
  • A deferral on business credit card repayments
  • Six-month waiver on terminal rental fees
  • A reduction of 1% p.a. for variable small business loans (from 30 March 2020)
  • A reduction of 2% p.a. for new QuickBiz loans and all overdrafts (from 30 March 2020)
More info
Prospa
Prospa recently announced that it too will be participating in the scheme. Details of the new loans that Prospa will be making available are still being finalised.More info
St.George Bank
St.George Bank has also announced that it will be participating in the scheme and loans are available effective as of 23 March 2020.

Additional support measures for businesses from St.George Bank include:

  • 2% p.a. interest rate reduction on overdrafts for new and existing customers from 6 April 2020
  • 1% p.a. interest rate reduction for small business cash-based loans, effective from 6 April 2020
  • Six-month deferral on loan repayments for businesses with cash flow issues
  • Merchant terminal fee refunds for up to three months
  • No establishment fees for equipment finance loans until end of June 2020
  • Restructuring and consolidating loans
  • Fee free redraw facilities
More info
Suncorp
Suncorp also announced that it will be taking part in the scheme, but is still finalising the details of its loans.

Other measures employed by Suncorp to help small business customers include:

  • Six-month deferral on loan repayments, with interest capitalised
  • The option to change your repayments to interest-only for up to 12 months
  • Reducing rates for new and existing variable secured business loans
  • Fee waivers for various business deposit accounts
  • Reducing line of credit and small business overdraft rates by 0.3% p.a.
Westpac
Westpac announced its new business loans under the SME Guarantee Scheme on 22 March 2020. These loans will be offered at a 4% p.a. lower rate than Westpac's current unsecured business loan.

Westpac is also offering the following support to business loan customers:

  • 1.7% p.a. interest for 12 months on new business term deposits (up to $500,000 per customer)
  • Six-month deferral on loan repayments for eligible businesses
  • Merchant terminal fee refunds for up to three months
  • 2% p.a. interest rate reduction on overdrafts for new and existing customers, effective 6 April 2020
  • 1% p.a. interest rate reduction for small business cash-based loans for new and existing customers, effective 6 April 2020.
More info

Please note that new banks are still pending approval for participation in the scheme. We will strive to keep it as updated as possible as new lenders are approved.

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