SME Recovery Loan Scheme | Does your Business Qualify?
The Government’s SME Recovery Loan Scheme is designed to support the economic recovery, and to provide continued assistance, to firms currently on JobKeeper. The Government will work with lenders to ensure that eligible firms will have access to finance to maintain and grow their businesses when JobKeeper ends.
The Scheme is enhancing lenders’ ability to provide cheaper credit, allowing many otherwise viable SMEs to access vital additional funding to get through the impact of Coronavirus, recover and invest for the future.
The Scheme builds on the framework established in the two phases of the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme, and is specifically targeted at SMEs currently receiving JobKeeper. The scheme is only open to recipients of the JobKeeper payment between 4 January 2021 and 28 March 2021.
Phase 2 of the existing SME Guarantee Scheme will remain open to eligible borrowers until 30 June 2021, and SMEs with Phase 1 or Phase 2 loans will be able to apply for loans in SME Recovery Loan Scheme.
Which businesses are eligible?
The scheme is only open to recipients of the JobKeeper payment between 4 January 2021 and 28 March 2021, specifically small and medium sized businesses with up to $250 million turnover. Both self‑employed individuals and non-profit businesses are eligible. Businesses that have accessed loans in Phase 1 and Phase 2 can also apply for loans under the scheme
Participating lenders are offering guaranteed loans on the following terms under Phase 2:
- The Government guarantee will be 80% of the loan amount.
- 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 to support investment. 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.
Eligible Loan uses and Products
Lenders can offer any product suitable to the borrower, with the exception of credit cards, charge cards, debit cards or business cards. Loans issued under the Scheme may take any other form of credit, provided the Scheme’s eligibility criteria are met. Loans issued under the Scheme can be used to refinance existing loans or for a broad range of businesses purposes (including to support investment) but 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 half way into their effective life.
Loans may be used to refinance any pre-existing debt of an eligible borrower, including those from the SME Guarantee Scheme. There will be some restrictions on refinancing loans, such as not allowing loans that are more than 30 days in arrears to be refinanced; or borrowers who have entered external administration, or are insolvent, to refinance debts. Lenders can vary or restructure loans as long as they continue to meet eligibility criteria (including the maximum loan term) and do not increase the loan limit after approval.
Lenders must disclose the effective interest rate (including whether variable or fixed) to the borrower at the loan agreement date. For variable rate loans, the lender must disclose the relevant margin and underlying base rate where applicable. Loans can be used to purchase non-residential real property (such as commercial property) or for the acquisition of another business.
Lenders will be able to rely on a declaration from the borrower in regards to the purpose of the loan. For more information, you can download information here:
Feel free to contact our office if you would like any further information or for an obligation-free and confidential discussion if your business is experiencing financial difficulties or you would like to discuss restructuring options.
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