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Banks Announce Support for Businesses Affected by Sydney’s Lockdown

With restrictions in place for the foreseeable future, many businesses are struggling. Here are a few ways you can get some financial relief from the banks.

Australia’s major banks have announced some support measures for businesses and individuals affected by Sydney’s lockdown. The Australian Banking Association (ABA) said its members, which includes the big four banks, would offer support to customers struggling to cope financially with the lockdown.

Small businesses with debts under $3 million and a turnover of less than $5 million can apply for repayment deferrals of up to three months on any outstanding loans. The deferred period is then added onto the end of the loan. This applies as long as the loan was not in arrears prior to the latest lockdown, unless you were already on an agreed payment program with your bank.

Small businesses can also ask for refunds on merchant terminal fees for up to three months, as well as waiving fees on cash deposits and farm management deposit accounts for up to three months. Businesses and individuals can also ask for a repayment deferral on their home loans, assessed on a month-by-month basis between bank and customer.

The best way to access support is to contact your bank and specify that you want to discuss Covid-related support for businesses. The support is in place mostly for tourism, hospitality and retail industries, but any small business can apply if they have been affected by Sydney’s lockdown – even if they aren’t based in Sydney.

It’s always a good idea to seek independent financial advice before you defer or extend any loans. Consider how this could affect your operations and future costs before you lock anything in.

Photography: Kimberley Low

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