SME Featured ANZ

CBA extends financial support to pandemic-strained SMEs in NSW

Sydney, Australia – In response to some of its customers affected by the recent lockdowns due to COVID-19, financial institution Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has announced that it is extending its financial support to affected small businesses in the state of New South Wales in Australia.

Part of the main service CBA will offer is its loans, where they are provided through the federal government-backed SME Loan Recovery Scheme. This offers eligible businesses loans up to AU$5m with variable interest rates from as low as 2.6% per annum for secured loans, and from 2.85% per annum for secured loans with a repayment holiday from 12 months. Unsecured loans are available with rates from 3.25% per annum, and from 3.75% per annum with a repayment holiday from 12 months.

Other services include repayment deferrals on asset finance and eligible business loans; a refund of merchant terminal fees for up to 90 days for eligible customers; and a waiving of fees and notice periods on cash deposit and farm management deposit accounts for eligible customers.

For Matt Comyn, CEO at CBA, they wanted to assure any of their customers who need assistance during this difficult time that they have measures in place to support them including short-term repayment deferrals. He also added that their teams are here to help them and can tailor solutions to suit their different circumstances.

“We know this lockdown will have an impact on the Sydney-based business community and we’ve been speaking to our customers to understand if they need assistance. Our business customers have demonstrated great resilience throughout the pandemic and we’re committed to doing what we can to help them through this lockdown period and beyond,” Comyn said.

He added, “We have a range of measures to help businesses to free up cash flow and provide some certainty, whether it’s through loan deferrals, fee refunds, or new low-cost funding through the SME Recovery Loan Scheme. As well as helping to deliver vital cash flow and provide peace of mind during this challenging time, these funds have allowed many businesses to adapt and innovate their operations, such as transitioning online.”

SME Featured South Asia

Nations Trust Bank obtains US$40m loan grant to support COVID-stricken SMEs

Colombo, Sri Lanka – In line with the institution’s clear focus on the nation’s enterprise development, banking institution Nations Trust Bank (NTB) in Sri Lanka has announced that it has received a US$40m grant from FMO, the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank, to help in the revival and growth of the Bank’s SME portfolio, as well as in order to ensure lives and livelihoods are protected and new employment is created. 

FMO has worked closely with Nations Trust Bank since 2004 and has partnered to provide the bank with access to long-term funding which has become more challenging due to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

NTB stated that it will focus its funding on local manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, value-added agriculture, women-led businesses, and export-oriented business which in turn will generate the much-needed foreign exchange flow into Sri Lanka and aid in building a resilient national economy. 

According to Priyantha Talwatte, CEO and director at Nations Trust Bank, the loan facility will enable them to support the growth of their SME clients and to provide solutions which are relevant at each stage of the customer’s business lifecycle. He added that it will contribute to narrowing the SME-financing gap and boosting financial inclusion, a vision both shared by FMO and NTB.

“These funds will support the bank’s own ‘Diriya’ program which was floated to support the revival of business with the advent of the pandemic. Our strong and long-standing relationship with FMO has made this facility possible and stands testament to Nations Trust Bank’s continuous ability to transact with international lenders to support local business rebuilding activity,” Talwatte said.

Meanwhile, Marnix Monsfort, director of Financial Institutions at FMO, commented, “FMO is very pleased that we can once again engage with Nations Trust Bank to support them in their strategic journey of supporting SMEs. By contributing to further narrowing the SME-financing gap, NTB can and will boost financial inclusion to various underserved segments, one of the goals highly supported by FMO.”

Aside from this endeavor, NTB has also partnered with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka for the ‘Saubhagya’ business support loan scheme, as well as disbursing over Rs. 20b (US$101.5m) towards the internally generated fund under ‘Nations Diriya’ dedicated to extending financial support to a range of industries engaged in direct or indirect export-oriented business and in local manufacturing.