Loan repayment deferrals:
We automatically enrolled business and community customers for a three month repayment deferral on all eligible BetterBusiness loans and Equipment Loans from April 2020. We then extended this deferral for all eligible customers for an additional three months through to September 2020.
In July 2020, the Government announced a further repayment deferral of up to four months on eligible business loans, for customers impacted by coronavirus. This further support has been offered on a case by case basis, dependent on individual circumstances.
We have since written to customers before their payments were due to recommence in October 2020. We have also been in touch with customers who we consider may be in need of further financial support over the next few months to discuss the options available to them. This may have included an additional deferral period or other measures. Customers who are able to resume repayments should do so.
For customers that require further financial support, please call your Relationship Manager or the Business Financial Assistance team on 13 2607.
You can take measures to look after your employees
As you know, your employees are among your most valuable assets, and being prepared to hit the ground running once the crisis passes is critical. This means taking steps to keep them safe and to maintain essential services. It also means continuing to pay them if you can afford to. There are two alternatives by which employers may provide financial support to their employees:
On 21 July, the Federal Government announced an extension to the JobKeeper Payment from 27 September 2020 to 28 March 2021, for eligible businesses.
If your business revenue has declined by 30% or more due to coronavirus, you may be eligible to apply for the JobKeeper Payment. The eligibility rules for employees remain unchanged. From 28 September 2020, businesses and not-for-profits seeking to claim the JobKeeper Payment will be required to demonstrate they have suffered an ongoing significant decline in turnover using actual rather than projected GST turnover.
The payment rate of $1,500 per fortnight for eligible employees and business participants will be reduced to $1,200 per fortnight from 28 September 2020, and then to $1,000 per fortnight from 4 January 2021.
From 28 September 2020, lower payment rates will apply for employees and business participants that work fewer than 20 hours per week.
The JobKeeper Payment will continue to remain open to new recipients, provided they meet the eligibility requirements.
Full details are available online: https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-07/Fact_sheet-JobKeeper_Payment_extension.pdf
Stand Down Measures:
Under certain conditions you may be able to stand employees down, allowing them to stay on the books and accrue annual leave without you having to pay a wage. This will assist in allowing you to quickly restart your business when the coronavirus passes. If you are eligible, you can still apply for the JobKeeper Payment.. Otherwise, once employees have exhausted their leave entitlements, they be eligible to receive a JobSeeker Payment or other Government income support. This may be preferable to redundancy, because it can help keep your employees connected to your business so that you can start up quickly in the future.
You can access our dedicated JobKeeper helpline:
To help make sense of the support available for your business, we have introduced a dedicated CommBank JobKeeper helpline. Our Australian-based helpline is available to you 24/7 on 13 26 07.
You could boost cash flow
From 28 April 2020, the Australian Taxation Office will begin automatically crediting your business activity statement (for businesses and NFPs with <$50m revenue), with a payment equal to 100% of tax withheld on your salary and wages, between $10,000 and $50,000 with a further payment available in the July-October period.
You could reduce rates and fees
For CommBank small business customers, we’re providing additional flexibility by reducing interest rates by 1.00% p.a. on small business loans where the interest rate is calculated based on the RBA cash rate plus a margin, which came into effect on 3 April 2020.
If you’re facing financial difficulty, you can ask us to refund your Merchant terminal rental fees, minimum monthly Merchant Service Fee, Monthly Access Fee, and Simple Merchant Plan fee (as applicable) for up to 90 days. If you have a Relationship Manager they will be able to assist you with this, or you can complete your request using our online form. If you would like any further support, you can speak with our dedicated Business Financial Assistance team on 13 26 07, who are available 24/7.
You could seek rent and utility relief
Many utility providers have also launched relief measures. Speak to your specific provider about temporary relief. The Code of Conduct for commercial tenancies was released on 7 April 2020 and aims to provide a range of rent relief measures for small and medium businesses with an annual turnover of less than $50 million and eligible for the JobKeeper Payment (30% or greater loss in revenue). You can find out more here: https://www.business.gov.au/Risk-management/Emergency-management/Coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business/Relief-for-commercial-tenancies
Your personal liability may not be impacted
Legislation has temporarily been relaxed so Directors will not be personally liable for insolvent trading where debts are incurred in the ordinary course of business. Debts will still need to be paid, but steps can be taken to protect businesses through this period. You can find out more at business.gov.au.