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Are you an SME who has been impacted economically by COVID-19, and who could use financial assistance to get back on their feet?
The SME Recovery Loan Scheme has been extended to 30 June 2022 with a reduced Government guarantee of 50 per cent. This is known as the 2022 Scheme expansion, where loans will be available from 1 January 2022 at the new Government guarantee.
Earlier this year (April 2021), the Government announced the SME Recovery Loan Scheme (also known as the Scheme), which was designed to support economic recovery and provide continued assistance to small and medium enterprises dealing with the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Scheme was initially slated to be available from 1 April 2021 through to 31 December 2021 at a Government guarantee of 80 per cent of the loan amount.
The scheme is open to small and medium-sized businesses with up to $250 million turnover including self-employed and non-profits. The Scheme has been open to (so far) eligible SMEs that were:
- The recipient of a JobKeeper payment between 4 January 2021 and 28 March 2021 (only approved under this eligibility prior to 1 October 2021)
- Affected by the floods in eligible LGAs in March 2021 (only approved under this eligibility criteria prior to 1 January 2022)
- Adversely economically affected by COVID-19 (can only be approved under this eligibility criteria prior to the Scheme Expansion Date, 1 October 2021).
These loans that are issued under the Scheme are able to be used to refinance existing loans, or for a broad range of business purposes, including to support investment. They cannot be used to:
- Purchase residential property
- Purchase financial products
- Lend to an associated entity, or
- Lease, rent, hire or hire purchase existing assets that are more than halfway into their effective life.
These loans may be used to refinance any pre-existing debt of an eligible borrower, including those from the SME Guarantee Scheme.
Participating lenders are offering guaranteed loans on the following terms under the SME Recovery Loan Scheme (2022 Scheme expansion):
- the Government guarantee will be 50% of the loan amount
- the expanded Scheme will not be available for loans to flood-affected SMEs that are not adversely economically affected by COVID‑19
- the expanded Scheme will commence on 1 January 2022 and end on 30 June 2022.
- lenders are allowed to offer borrowers a repayment holiday of up to 24 months
- loans can be used for a broad range of business purposes, including investment support
- loans may be used to refinance any pre‑existing debt of an eligible borrower, including those from the SME Guarantee Scheme
- borrowers can access up to $5 million in total, in addition to the Phase 1 and Phase 2 loan limits
- loans are for terms of up to 10 years, with an optional repayment holiday period
- loans can be either unsecured or secured (excluding residential property)
- the interest rate on loans will be determined by lenders but will be capped at around 7.5 per cent, with some flexibility for interest rates on variable rate loans to increase if market interest rates rise over time
Loans that are backed by the scheme will be available through participating commercial lenders. The decisions to extend credit and the management of the loan remains with the lender.
The SME Recovery Loan Scheme may be a viable option for your business if it has been impacted by financial hardship. If you would like to know more about this scheme, you can begin that conversation with us or a participating lender.