During the COVID-19 pandemic, Australian banks have continued their strong support for small and medium businesses across the country. Since February 1, Australian banks have approved over $41b for SMEs and sole traders. That’s an average of $5 billion per month. Approval rates for loans have remained high throughout the crisis, at around 70% of loan applications received.

In the six weeks up to October 7, the banks approved loans of more than nine billion dollars to small and medium businesses and sole traders. Banks have been willing to lend to more than 128,000 Australian firms since the pandemic began, with an average loan size is $320,000. On average, banks have approved more than 500 new SME loans a day for more than 250 days. Total lending approved to all businesses, of any size, is more than $200 billion since February.

“The clear message from this new data is that Australia’s banks remain open for business for small business customers”, said Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh.

“The banks’ commitment to small business has been supported by a number of Government and regulatory measures, including the RBA’s Term Funding Facility, changes to business lending rules, the instant asset write-off, and the SME loan guarantee. Australian banks are continuing to provide a lifeline to small and medium businesses across the country. The rate of lending has held up strongly despite the pandemic.”

“These small businesses will drive Australia through the crisis, and after it has passed, employ millions of Australians as the economy rebuilds.”