Banks get a break on customer obligations

Original article by Richard Gluyas
The Australian – Page: 16 : 26-Jun-20

The Banking Code of Practice, which was approved by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission in December, aims to implement recommendations of the Hayne royal commission. However, ASIC has announced that it has given banks a temporary reprieve from some of the code’s provisions. ASIC has stated that the impact of COVID-19 should be taken into account when considering if a bank has met its commitment to engage ethically and fairly with small business clients; ASIC also noted that banks may not always be able to meet timelines in the code for customer communication.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION

CBA leads small business banking satisfaction during COVID-19 shutdowns

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 24-Jun-20

New research from Roy Morgan shows that small business owner banking satisfaction for the four major banks was at 71% in the 12 months to April, an increase of 0.9% points from the year to March as shutdowns were enforced across the Australian economy. Satisfaction increased for all four major banks and was highest in the year to April for the Commonwealth Bank at 74.6%, up 0.9% points on the corresponding figure for March. However, the biggest increase was for ANZ which increased 1.1% points to 64.2% while there were also increases in satisfaction for both Westpac and NAB. These are the latest findings from interviews with 2,359 small businesses owners as part of the Roy Morgan Business Owner Satisfaction Monitor regarding their level of satisfaction with the financial institution they deal with.

CORPORATES
ROY MORGAN LIMITED, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB

Asset write-off extension to aid business

Original article by Matthew Cranston, Tom McIlroy
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 9-Jun-20

The federal government will extend its $150,000 instant asset write-off scheme for another six months. It will be accessible to companies with annual turnover of less than $500 million, which covers more than 3.5 million businesses employing over 9.7 million people. Council of Small Business Organisations CEO Peter Strong says the government has done the right thing by the small business sector in extending the scheme.

CORPORATES
COUNCIL OF SMALL BUSINESS ORGANISATIONS OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED

ANZ urges stricken firms: wind up now

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 17 : 1-Jun-20

The ANZ’s head of retail and business banking, Mark Hand, suggests that 2021 will be a very difficult year for small businesses. He suggests that many small and medium enterprises will not recover from the COVID-19 crisis, even with loan deferrals from banks and wage subsidies from the federal government. He says the best move for some SME owners would be to wind up their business and walk away with some equity. The ANZ is worried that the recent spark of optimism resulting from a fall in new COVID-19 cases and the easing of some restrictions will result in some of its business borrowers becoming complacent.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ

Business cashflow assistance tops $6bn

Original article by Geoff Chambers, Patrick Commins
The Australian – Page: 4 : 1-May-20

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the federal government’s tax-free cashflow payments have assisted employers to remain in business during the coronavirus pandemic. New figures show that some 343,211 small businesses and non-profit organisations had collectively received $6.09bn worth of cashflow payments by 28 April. Eligible businesses are entitled to receive payments of between $20,000 and $100,000; the average amount received to date is $17,700 per business. The government estimates that about 720,000 businesses will be eligible for the payments.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

CBA delays all SME repayments

Original article by Max Maddison
The Australian – Page: 17 : 24-Apr-20

The Council of Small Business Organisations’ deputy chairman David Gandolfo has welcomed the Commonwealth Bank’s decision to defer loan repayments for many small business customers until the end of June. The loan deferral will automatically apply to small business accounts that have lending limits of less than $5m, although these customers can opt to continue making repayments. Business customers with loans of between $5m and $10m will be able to defer repayments for six months due to the impact of the pandemic.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, COUNCIL OF SMALL BUSINESS ORGANISATIONS OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED

Business loan relief in bailout expansion

Original article by Geoff Chambers, Simon Benson
The Australian – Page: 1 & 6 : 30-Mar-20

The major banks will announce on 30 March that companies with loans totalling up to $10 million will be able to defer payments for six months in order to help save jobs during the coronavirus crisis. It is understood that the federal government will expand its 50 per cent loan guarantee for to small and medium enterprises to big business, while the Australian Banking Association will build on its previously announced small business support package with additional assistance measures.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BANKING ASSOCIATION

Wage subsidies not enough for small business

Original article by John Kehoe
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 8 : 25-Mar-20

Former Treasury official Steven Hamilton has urged the federal government to increase the wage subsidies for small and medium enterprises in response to the pandemic. He warns that the SME sector will be "completely wiped out" if the government does not act, while the nation will face a long and deep recession. Andrew Boak of Goldman Sachs agrees that the government’s existing wage subsidy measures will not be sufficient to avert large-scale job losses.

CORPORATES
GOLDMAN SACHS AUSTRALIA GROUP HOLDINGS PTY LTD, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY

Banks race to roll out SME loans

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 15 & 18 : 23-Mar-20

The federal government will underwrite 50 per cent of new loans made by eligible lenders to small and medium enterprises as part of its response to the coronavirus crisis. Westpac’s acting CEO Peter King says the SME Guarantee Scheme will provide "significant support" to SMEs, while he supports moves to allow people in financial hardship to access their superannuation. The rollout of the scheme in New South Wales and Victoria has been complicated by moves to lockdown non-essential services in coming days, as banks work to keep as many branches open as possible in those states.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ

APRA relaxes buffers as CBA slashes rates

Original article by James Eyers, James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 19 & 22 : 20-Mar-20

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority will temporarily ease the "unquestionably strong" equity capital buffers that it imposes on banks. This will allow them to make billions of dollars worth of additional loans to small businesses that are struggling to maintain cashflows during the coronavirus crisis. The Commonwealth Bank responded to APRA’s announcement by cutting its interest rates on small business loans by 100 basis points, while it also cut rates on one-, two- and three-year fixed-rate home loans by 70 basis points.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA