How ANZ is helping brokers and SMEs through COVID-19

ANZ has developed a range of services and products to assist brokers and SME customers during the coronavirus pandemic, says ANZ general manager of commercial broker Angelo Manos. This includes a dedicated hotline and regular webinars as well as loan support and new lending options for small and medium-sized businesses.

MPA spoke with Manos about the options available and how they could help brokers support their customers and their staff.

How ANZ is supporting brokers

When it comes to assisting business customers impacted by COVID-19, Manos says brokers should reach out to ANZ if they have any questions.

“Ongoing communication is critical,” he says.

“This doesn’t just mean communicating with your customers. It’s also important to find time to read the regular lender and aggregator updates being distributed and, if you have a customer in need and are unclear of the support available, pick up the phone and speak to your ANZ Broker Manager or banker.”

For those mortgage brokers looking to help their customers with commercial finance for potentially the first time in the sector, he says education is a key factor.

“We’re hearing a lot about education in the industry and this is going to be the key factor for new and experienced brokers, irrespective of whether they’re commercial or residentially accredited, or both,” he explains.

“Our webinar series will provide brokers with a solid knowledge base to expand their residential experience into the commercial space.

“We also encourage residential brokers looking to diversify to join these sessions so they can kick-start their relationships with ANZ commercial.”

He says it is important to note that brokers looking to diversify into commercial property must gain a separate ANZ accreditation for commercial lending and asset finance, as well as be authorized to act for an ANZ approved aggregator.

Bridging the JobKeeper gap

Manos says ANZ has established a dedicated hotline for SME customers who may need temporary financial assistance in order to “help to bridge the gap before they receive JobKeeper Payments”.

“Brokers should direct customers to our dedicated hotline on 1800 571 123 or ‘Request a call back’ via anz.com,” he says.

“Broker customers can reach out to us if they require temporary financial assistance once they’ve successfully enrolled for the JobKeeper Payment scheme.”

He says brokers should have their ABN, an ATO-provided JobKeeper Business enrolment for JobKeeper subsidy receipt and the ANZ Business account number they currently use to pay employees handy before they contact the bank.

Loan support is available for existing customers experiencing hardship

Manos says in the case of existing business loans and overdrafts, the following options may help SMEs who are struggling to make ends meet.

“All impacted customers can request a six-month payment deferral on loan repayments for term loans, with interest capitalised.”

But it is important to note that since interest is capitalised under this arrangement, the outstanding loan balance will increase as a result.

“We are making available temporary increases in overdraft facilities for 12 months and we’ve decreased variable interest small business loan rates in Australia by 0.25% p.a., effective from 27 March 2020.”

He says business credit card holders requiring additional support should contact the bank, as should impacted customers with a merchant facility, who may be eligible for a three-month waiver of rental fees for their ANZ electronic terminals.

“Our bankers will discuss the options available to you that may help with staying on top of things or relieving financial stress.”

New loan options for SMEs experiencing hardship

Manos says ANZ is supporting SMEs who are feeling the economic pinch of the pandemic through a range of new lending options.

“We know that many customers are feeling the impacts of COVID-19 and may need help to reduce the pressure on cash flow within their business. That’s where we can provide support, with access to new business loans that could help them get back on top of things,” he says, adding that the options available depend on the size of the customer’s business.

One option includes a three-year business loan of up to $250,000 with a six-month deferral on repayments, in which interest is capitalised. 

Another option is a six-month business overdraft of up to $250,000 with a six-month deferral of interest, which is capitalised and added onto the outstanding balance. At the end of the six-month term, the customer has the option of fully repaying the overdraft or rolling the balance into a term loan for up to two and a half years.

He says SME customers with a turnover of less than $50m can apply for these options which are available for new lending only from April 6, approved by September 30 this year.

“The loan must be used to support your current and upcoming business cash flow needs only (including working capital, liquidity and operating expenditure) and it cannot be used to refinance drawn facilities with us or another lender.”

He says the business must also be based, registered and operating in Australia.

Manos says ANZ is working hard to provide support and assistance to SMEs and brokers across the country who have been affected by COVID-19.

“We're doing our very best to support you and your customers in this rapidly changing environment. We’re working around the clock to ensure we have dedicated teams of specialist bankers to help you through this and to respond to customer queries.”

“For regular updates, including ANZ webinar invites, please ensure you stay up to date with ANZ announcements via your ANZ banker or Broker Manager.”