Small businesses and Australians with home loans who are struggling through COVID-19 lockdowns can count on their banks to help them, says the Australian Banking Association.
A new national support package will be available to all small businesses and home loan customers who are significantly impacted by current lockdowns or recovery from recent lockdowns, the peak body announced on Thursday evening.
Customers will be able to seek deferrals of their mortgage repayments on a month by month basis.
Small businesses with loans in good standing will be able to delay loan repayments by up to three months.
Banks are also promising to refund merchant terminal fees for up to three months.
The package must be given the green light by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh said that recent lockdowns have taken their toll on customers.
"Customers can rest assured that if they need help, they will get it. Your bank will help you find a way through, don't tough it out on your own," Ms Bligh said.
"Banks also stand ready to support larger businesses and they will be assessed on a case by case basis.
"Customers who need support should contact their bank."
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet both lauded the plan, thanking the banks for their assistance amid the lockdown across Greater Sydney and surrounds.
"This is a vital step by the banking industry and a strong show of support for businesses and home owners during a particularly tough period," Ms Berejiklian said in a statement.
"It will help give peace of mind to many and shows that the banks are willing to work with people who are doing it tough and help find solutions."
Business NSW estimates the lockdown - scheduled to end July 16 - is costing the state $1 billion a week and the NSW government will spend about $1.4 billion on its current small business support package.
AAP understands extended support for businesses and sole traders with an annual turnover of less than $75,000 is currently being considered, as is more targeted assistance to COVID-hit industries.
Eligibility for Commonwealth support for those who can't work due to the lockdown, about to enter its third week, has also been expanded.
The liquid assets test on COVID-19 disaster payments will from the third week of lockdown arrangements be waived, expanding access to the $500 or $325 payments.
Mutual obligation requirements for social welfare payments will also be lifted.
Australian Associated Press