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La Trobe Financial offers virus-hit SMEs assistance

by reporter4 minute read

The non-bank lender is offering hardship assistance for small-business customers that are financially impacted by the spread of COVID-19.

La Trobe Financial has become the latest lender to offer hardship assistance for small-business customers who are financially affected by the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

According to the lender, impacted small-business customers – such as tourism operators, growers and exporters of fresh produce, and businesses reliant on imports – can apply for financial assistance through the lender to help them mitigate financial stress in “unprecedented economic times”.

Dependant on individual circumstances, this assistance could take the form of: 

  • A deferral of scheduled loan repayments;
  • Waiving fees and charges;
  • Temporary interest-only periods to assist with cash flow; and
  • Debt consolidation to help make repayments more manageable.

Cory Bannister, chief lending officer at La Trobe Financial, commented: “We recently announced a $1 million bushfire relief package to help people affected by the devastating bushfires across Australia.

Today, we are looking out for our customers who have been impacted by the spread of COVID-19. As always, we remain committed to helping our customers through these challenging times.” 

Mr Bannister added that brokers could also help their SME clients by touching base with them to understand their cash flow needs (and likely reduced revenue during this period) and see whether they can structure their debts” – including credit cards, personal loans and leases – by utilising mortgage finance. 

There are also a number of lenders specialising in SME cash flow finance, and this might be an opportunity for brokers to connect with their clients,” he said. 

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank also recently announced support measures for customers affected by the virus, with the big four banks also encouraging affected customers to reach out for assistance and, in some cases, access reduced business rates.

This comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison released a  for small businesses, and the establishment of a new Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit in Treasury to engage with peak business groups on systemic issues relating to coronavirus and “build on existing efforts to support confidence, employment and business continuity”. 

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