Local support essential for small business recovery

Commonwealth Bank is more than doubling the number of local business bankers in branches across the country, and improving lending services in-branch and online, to ensure small business customers are supported on their road to recovery.

The nationwide business banker expansion will offer more personalised business support to help small business customers, and their local communities, rebuild and grow.

“Every small business is unique and we are committed to providing them with support from bankers who know their local community,” CBA Group Executive Business Banking, Mike Vacy-Lyle said.

“Access to a local business banker can make a world of difference to a small business owner particularly with many making difficult decisions as they navigate the flow on impacts of the pandemic.

“Small businesses provide stability and energy to the local communities they operate in and we want to make sure we’re doing all we can to help them recover – this means more dedicated business support in branches, over the phone, and through our digital channels,” Mr Vacy-Lyle said.

Almost half of these business bankers have already started, and the remainder will join over the coming months. These new bankers will join more than 2,500 business bankers and specialists across 240 metro and regional sites, as part of CBA’s ongoing commitment to improve its small business support, and maintain Australia’s largest branch network.

The expansion follows CBA’s investment to provide faster funding for small businesses through BizExpress, the bank’s pioneering lending system. Banker-assisted BizExpress services (in-branch and over the phone) provide a same-day decision on unsecured loans up to $250,000 and secured loans up to $1 million. The new digital BizExpress Online product (available through Netbank and the CommBank app) will offer eligible customers a real-time credit decision and access to funding up to $100,000 in as little as 15 minutes.

BizExpress has been key to CBA’s leading role in providing loans through the Federal Government’s Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme. CBA approved more than $875 million in loans to 9,400 businesses through the first phase of the scheme, and has now implemented the second phase, with record low rates on loans up to $1 million.

“Small businesses remain the lifeblood of the Australian economy. By adding more support on the ground across our branches, and providing access to a deeper and long-term pool of financial support, we are backing small business customers with the vital support they need at this uncertain time.”

Today’s announcements complement a range of measures already in place to support customers most in need:

Available support options for small business customers

  • For businesses facing financial difficulty, we are refunding merchant terminal rental fees, minimum monthly Merchant Service Fee, Monthly Access Fee, and Simple Merchant Plan fees (as applicable) with the ability to lodge a request online via our dedicated e-form;
  • We continue to offer loan repayment deferrals for eligible customers. Customers who have not had loans deferred can apply to do so for a deferral period up until 31 March 2021. For customers who have already had loan deferrals, we are extending this for up to a 10 month period;
  • Contractual relief and other assistance measures including waiving early redraw fees on business term deposit accounts, and deferring repayments on vehicle and equipment finance loans;
  • Reducing rates and fees and restructuring loans for eligible customers;
  • Business benefits finder – A tool available to help businesses that may be eligible for benefits, rebates and concessions that could help save them money / help with business cash flow;
  • As part of the Government Coronavirus SME Guarantee Loan Scheme Phase 2, to support our business customers we’re offering three, four and five year Better Business Loans of up to $1 million to approved customers (lending criteria applies). There are both secured and unsecured loan options which can be used for business purposes and the purchase of commercial property at record low rates;
  • Financial support to business customers seeking to maximise the Federal Government’s instant asset write-off.

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