1 Apr 2020

Westpac NZ business customers disrupted by COVID-19 will be able to access lending through new Business Support Loans.

The loans are being offered as part of the Government-backed Business Finance Guarantee Scheme, which allows banks to provide loans of up to $500,000 to eligible small and medium sized enterprises to protect jobs and support the economy.

Westpac NZ General Manager of Commercial, Corporate and Institutional Banking, Simon Power, says the loan scheme is designed to help viable businesses meet their costs over the coming weeks and months.

“Many businesses have fixed costs that they need to continue to pay even though they are not trading at the moment. These are things like rent, vehicle leasing and staff salaries.

“These loans will provide a source of cashflow so costs can be managed, offering a degree of certainty to businesses so they can plan their resumption of business activities.

“Westpac NZ is already providing a range of assistance to businesses, including deferring repayment on credit cards, overdrafts and loans for up to three months, depending on individual circumstances.

“The Business Support Loan is another tool in the toolbox that will help us help our customers through the months ahead.”

Mr Power says partnering with the Government in a risk-sharing arrangement gives banks more latitude, but the scheme would not be a solution for every business. Businesses would need to provide financial projections.

“Every business will be different. Some will be affected locally by the Level 4 lockdown, while others may be having problems sourcing parts from overseas, or rely on exports to other countries.

“As with any business lending, we still need to understand if each customer will be able to meet their commitments. We don’t want to place people under even more financial stress by lending to customers that don’t have a viable way forward.”

Mr Power says customers can find out more at westpac.co.nz and will be able to register online for a loan from tomorrow.