Sydney - 4 February 2011: Small businesses in Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania are expected to benefit from a $1 billion lending package set aside by the Commonwealth Bank to support businesses across flood and cyclone affected areas.
“Commonwealth Bank’s disaster support initiatives are amongst the most significant ever seen in Australia’s corporate history and we are committed to getting out and lending a hand to Australian businesses,” Commonwealth Bank Group Executive Business and Private Banking, Ian Narev said.
“We are still determining what impacts Cyclone Yasi has had but we are extending our business lending package in far North Queensland and remain open for business and ready to help.”
Commonwealth Bank’s Business and Agribusiness package was part of a wider assistance program announced by the Group’s CEO, Mr Ralph Norris this week. The package included $57 million worth of support for families and individuals impacted by the floods through a $50 million ‘Compassionate Fund’ for CommInsure home insurance customers and a $5 million Community Group Flood Assistance Grants Program.
Mr Narev said the Bank had devised a number of initiatives for business and agribusiness customers affected by recent natural disasters.
“Our support will allow businesses to re-stock, re-supply, re-build and re-establish themselves. We will throw our weight behind as many initiatives as possible to help Australian businesses find their feet again.”
Commonwealth Bank customers whose businesses have been damaged through the natural disasters can seek special funding through new overdraft facilities or increases in existing overdraft facilities of up to $100,000, he added.
“In addition, these customers will not be charged any interest for the first three months of the loan and will not pay any establishment fee. We will also offer a cash rebate to flood and cyclone affected customers who settle a new asset finance transaction prior to 30 June.”
Mr Narev said that already business customers had welcomed the initiatives outlined by the Bank.
“It’s been a pleasing response. We have spoken with micro, small and medium-business customers and they have been very supportive.”
Mr Narev said agribusiness and regional customers would require the most assistance as part of this initiative, having endured one of the worst droughts in decades, to only have their recovery devastated by floods.
“While our farmers are resilient we believe this package will go a long way to putting their recovery back on track.”
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