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

What’s our strategy for slump in wake of virus?

Original article by Robert Gottliebsen
The Australian – Page: 25 : 26-Feb-20

Research by Roy Morgan shows that one-in-six Australian businesses have already been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. This includes sectors of the economy that are among the biggest employers, such as manufacturing and education. However, small and medium enterprises are likely to be hardest hit by the economic fallout from the virus. The federal government is therefore to be commended for proposing to require large companies to pay suppliers more promptly. At present, the proposed legislation only applies to businesses with turnover of up to $10m, but it should be expanded to include medium-sized businesses.

CORPORATES
ROY MORGAN LIMITED

Today 26% of Australian businesses have been affected by bushfires – Australia needs to support businesses in the Accommodation and Food services industries with Visitors and Tourists

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 28-Jan-20

A special Roy Morgan Snap SMS Survey shows that 26% of Australian businesses have been affected either ‘A great deal’ (7%), ‘Somewhat’ (10%) or ‘A little’ (9%) by the bushfires. Some 74% of businesses have been unaffected by the bushfire. A deeper analysis of the industries most heavily impacted shows that over a third of businesses in the Accommodation and Food services sector, which includes travel and tourism, say they have been affected ‘A great deal’ – higher than any other industry. Businesses in Queensland and NSW have been the hardest hit, with 12% of Queensland businesses and 11% of NSW businesses affected ‘A great deal’ by the bushfires – far higher than any other State. In general businesses in NSW are the most likely to have been impacted, with 35% affected in some way, compared to around a quarter of businesses in Queensland (25%) and Victoria (24%). In contrast, only 16% of businesses in WA and 11% in Tasmania have been affected at all. These findings are based on an SMS survey of 1,308 Australian businesses.

CORPORATES
ROY MORGAN LIMITED

‘Incredibly traumatised’: Small businesses facing bushfire insurance maze

Original article by Emma Koehn
The Sydney Morning Herald – Page: Online : 23-Jan-20

David Keane of Solve My Claim says some small businesses are likely to find that their insurance policy has limited coverage for some bushfire-related losses. He notes that many business owners do not know exactly what adverse events their policy covers, noting that many policies only cover profits rather than loss of revenue. Meanwhile, Australian Small Business & Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell says insurers should be "reasonable" when assessing claims from customers who were not directly affected by the fires.

CORPORATES
SOLVE MY CLAIM, AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS AND FAMILY ENTERPRISE OMBUDSMAN, AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL COMPLAINTS AUTHORITY

Bushfire loans, grants should be easier to get, small businesses say

Original article by Nick Bonyhady
The Age – Page: Online : 22-Jan-20

Small business owners in bushfire-affected areas have criticised the excessive amount of paperwork required to apply for the federal government’s concessional loans and grants. Shadow small business minister Brendan O’Connor says the government needs to provide greater clarity as to eligibility for the grants and loans, and when businesses will begin to receive financial assistance. The government will also make 10 financial counsellors available, but O’Connor says this is clearly inadequate given that the bushfires have affected about 200,000 small businesses.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

$15b small business tax debt in sights

Original article by Tom McIlroy
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 7 : 6-Jan-20

Inspector-General of Taxation and Taxation Ombudsman Karen Payne is conducting a probe into the Australian Taxation Office’s $45 billion debt book. Payne’s examination includes the investigation of around $15 billion in small business debt to the ATO, with Payne saying her review will help to identify which areas of the economy are seeing increases in undisputed debt collections. As well as her review of the ATO’s debt book, Payne’s office is also investigating the tax administration of deceased estates.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE

Call to end retrospective R&D audits for business

Original article by Tom McIlroy
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 9 : 12-Dec-19

Small Business & Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has recommended changes to the administration of R&D tax incentives following a review of the scheme. Amongst other things, she has proposed that the federal government cease requiring recipients to undergo retrospective audits, often some years after they received the tax incentive. Carnell notes that the Australian Taxation Office has frequently required small businesses to repay the full amount of the tax incentive after an audit, including harsh financial penalties.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS AND FAMILY ENTERPRISE OMBUDSMAN, AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND SCIENCE, AIRTASKER PTY LTD