On 19 March 2020 the Australian Banking Association (ABA) applied for authorisation on behalf its current and future retail member banks (the Applicants) to agree and implement a support package for small business customers experiencing financial difficulties as a result of COVID-19 (small business relief package). The ABA also requested urgent interim authorisation to enable Participating Banks to agree to the terms of the small business relief package and take steps to offer and implement the package as soon as possible.
The small business relief package:
· includes a deferral of principal and interest repayments for all term loans and retail loans of a small business customer for 6 months (interest will be capitalised); and
· will be open to all current small business customers of a Participating Member Bank, where the customer has advised that its business is affected by COVID-19, in all sectors of the economy, and on an opt-in basis.
Member Banks may elect to offer the small business relief package. They are also able to individually decide to offer relief that extends beyond the minimum terms of the small business relief package.
On 20 March 2020, the ACCC granted interim authorisation (original interim authorisation).
On 29 April 2020, the ABA withdrew the authorisation application AA1000475. At the same time, the ABA notified the ACCC that its participating member banks would continue to provide the small business relief package under the interim authorisation granted to the ABA’s authorisation application AA1000482 for broader financial relief.
The small business relief package will continue to operate under the new notification in substantively the same way as under the original interim authorisation. The main difference being a change to the customer’s currency requirements for new applicants as a result of subsequent conditions advised by APRA. In order to be eligible, a small business customer now needs to be current on repayments at 90 days from the repayment deferral application. Previously, the small business customer only needed to be current on repayments at 1 January 2020. Customers who have already received relief under the small business relief package as part of the original interim authorisation will not be impacted by the conversion.
The authorisation application withdrawal document and a document highlighting the differences in the terms of the new small business relief notification and the original authorisation application can be found below.
On 12 May 2020, the ACCC revoked the interim authorisation granted to the ABA under the application for authorisation AA1000475.
If you wish to make a submission in relation to your experience with the impact of the conduct, please contact the ACCC at email@example.com.
|ACCC to Interested Parties re Consultation Process ( PDF 279.36 KB )||3 Apr 2020|