March 20, 2020 / 1:04 AM / 14 days ago

Australian banks announce $57 billion loan relief package for businesses

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian banks on Friday said they would defer loan repayments for six months for small businesses impacted by the coronavirus in a A$100 billion ($57.34 billion) relief package.

Depending on customer take up, this could help put as much as A$8 billion back into the coffers of small businesses, Australia Banking Association chief Anna Bligh said.

“These are extraordinary times,” she told reporters, adding Australia’s banking system was among the strongest and the most stable in the world.

“And they (banks) stand ready, open for business, open to lend to those businesses that may need that.”

Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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