SME Recovery Loan Scheme

The Government’s $5 million loan scheme, aimed at helping SMEs get back on their feet, is now available to even more businesses.

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What is the SME Recovery Loan Scheme?

The SME Loan Recovery Scheme is designed to support small businesses struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic and extended lockdowns throughout 2020 and 2021. The loans are worth up to $5 million, and are an extension of the existing SME Guarantee Scheme.

1 October 2021 Changes

From 1 October 2021, businesses no longer need to have received JobKeeper payments to be eligible for this scheme. Any SME with up to $250 million in turnover that has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can apply.

Not only are the loans designed to support Australian businesses that have been impacted financially from the covid-induced economic downturn, but the government hopes they will also help to prop up the economy.

Here's who is eligible for the loans, the loan details and how to apply for one.

Is your business eligible?

Your business is eligible for the SME Recovery Loan Scheme if it has a turnover of up to $250 million and meets at least one of the following:

  • Your business received JobKeeper payments between 4 January 2021 and 28 March 2021, or
  • Your business was impacted by the floods in March 2021, or
  • Your business has been greatly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The scheme is also open to self-employed individuals and non-profit organisations, provided the above criteria is met. If your business has previously accessed a loan under the previous SME Guarantee Schemes you're still eligible to apply again for this new extended scheme.

What are the loan details?

The business loans are offered via commercial lenders including the Big Four banks, as well as smaller lenders including Judo Bank and GetCapital. However, the government is guaranteeing 80% of the loan amount.

The loans are up to $5 million in total and can be either secured or unsecured, and for a repayment period of up to 10 years. Lenders are also able to offer a repayment holiday period of up to 24 months, but they aren't required to do so. The interest rate offered is determined by each lender and will generally be capped at 7.5%.

What can I use the SME Recovery Loan loan for?

The loan is designed to support SMEs with their recovery following the coronavirus pandemic, and can be used for many different things. If eligible, your business can use the loan for a number of purposes including:

You can't use the loans issued under the scheme to:

  • Purchase residential property
  • Purchase financial products
  • Lend money to another entity
  • Lease, rent or hire existing assets

Which lenders are participating in the SME Recovery Loan Scheme?

  • ANZ
  • Bank of Queensland
  • CommBank
  • Fifo Capital Australia
  • GetCapital
  • Judo Bank
  • Liberty Finance
  • Moneytech Finance
  • NAB
  • Regional Australia Bank
  • Social Enterprise Finance Australia
  • South West Credit Union Co-operative
  • Suncorp
  • The Mutual Bank
  • TrailBlazer Finance
  • Unity Bank
  • Webster Dolilta Finance
  • Westpac

Comparing some the Major Banks' options

Public information about these loans isn't widely available. This makes sense given the loans will be largely customised to each business. However, we've outlined the available rates and information from the Big Four banks and BOQ in the table below (correct as at 12 October 2021).

BankLoan Rates & FeesLoan Amount

ANZ logo no letters

  • Unsecured rate from 2.99% p.a.
  • Secured rate from 2.49% p.a.
  • No approval or account fees
  • Up to $5 million

bank of queensland logo

  • Secured loans for owner occupied commercial property
  • Unsecured loans considered if you have an owner occupied home loan with BOQ
  • No application or monthly service fees
  • From $20,000 to $5 million

commbank logo no letters

  • Unsecured rate from 3.25% p.a. (3.75% p.a. with repayment holiday)
  • Secured rate from 2.60% p.a. (2.85% p.a. with repayment holiday
  • Fee information unavailable
  • Up to $5 million

NAB logo no letters

  • Unsecured rate - 3.95% p.a.
  • Fully secured by a mortgage over owner-occupied commercial real estate – 2.80% p.a.
  • Fully secured by a mortgage over investment commercial real estate – 3.30% p.a.
  • Loans with other suitable security – 3.95% p.a.
  • No application or service fees but other fees may apply
  • Unsecured up to $250,000
  • Secured up to $5 million

Westpac logoWestpac logo

  • Interest rates from 2.58% p.a. to 4.28% p.a.
  • No establishment or monthly account keeping fees, but other fees & charges may apply
  • From $15,000 to $5 million

How to apply for a loan

If your business is eligible, you can apply for a loan before 31 December 2021.

You need to apply directly through a commercial business loan lender rather than applying via the government. The lender will assess your application and determine the specific loan terms, and the lender also has the right to decline your loan application.

As the details of the loan (including the interest rate, term length and the option for a repayment holiday) are at the discretion of the lender, the government has encouraged businesses to shop around and compare business loans before applying for a loan under this new scheme.

More guides on Finder

  • ANZ SME Business Loan

    This ANZ business loan aims to help businesses recover from the Coronavirus pandemic with a special, low interest rate. Rates will vary based on your situation. Find out if you're eligible to apply.

  • Westpac SME Recovery Loan

    This loan from Westpac has secured and unsecured options to help your business recover from the Covid-19 lockdowns. Its variable rates are based on your circumstances and can be repaid over 10 years. Find out if you're eligible to apply.

  • NAB Business Recovery Loan

    This business recovery loan from NAB lets you choose between secured and unsecured options to help your business after the Covid-19 lockdowns. Interest rates will vary based on your situation. Find out if you're eligible to apply.

  • CommBank SME Restarter Loan

    You can borrow up to $5 million to help your business recover from the coronavirus pandemic or the March 2021 floods.

  • BOQ SME Recovery Loan Scheme Business Loan

    This business loan from BOQ has secured and unsecured options to help you recover from the Coronavirus pandemic. Interest rates vary based on your circumstances and can be repaid over 10 years. Find out if you're eligible to apply.

  • Expanded SME loan scheme now open to most Aussie businesses 

    Own a small business? The revamped SME loan scheme could help you power you through 2022 with no repayments for 2 years.

  • Need a personal loan? 10 ways to increase your chances of approval

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  • Business loans for Centrelink recipients

    Centrelink might block your business idea from taking off, but a variety of finance options including government schemes can help your business succeed.

  • How the budget can help small businesses in 2021

    SPONSORED: Here’s how the 2021 budget could impact for your small business – in real terms.

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