New figures from the Australian Banking Association (ABA) show a total of 643,000 loans have now been deferred, with the total values of these loans now over $200 billion. 

ABA Chief Executive Anna Bligh said the figures revealed the economic fallout from coronavirus was still unfolding, and continued support from banks was needed. 

“New data released today shows that in just one week an extra 100,000 customers have had their loans deferred, including 50,000 home loans, to take the pressure off household and business budgets as they navigate through this pandemic,” Ms Bligh said.

“These updated figures, together with figures not previously reported, bring the total number of loans deferred by Australia’s banks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to over 643,000, of which approximately 392,000 are home loans.

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According to Ms Bligh, the total value of loans deferred increased by at least $20 billion in just one week.

“These new figures, released today, shows banks working overtime to ensure assistance is given where needed to customers who are affected by this crisis," she said. 

“The surge in demand for assistance from banks shows that the economic impacts continue to be felt, and by no means is the nation through this crisis."

Putting home loan repayments on hold could free up an extra $1,834 per month for a borrower with a $400,000 mortgage, according to NAB. 

But while the deferral of loan repayments has been welcome relief to many experiencing financial hardship, deferring repayments could cost borrowers more in the long run.

That's because while repayments are deferred, interest is still accruing on the loan balance, increasing the length of the loan and potentially costing tens of thousands of dollars.

CBA approves half a billion in SME loans 

Commonwealth Bank (CBA) has approved more than $555 million in loans for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) through the Government-backed SME Guarantee Loan Scheme. 

The scheme, launched in late March, aimed to provide SMEs with quick and easy access to funds to help get through the economic hibernation brought on by the coronavirus.

CBA Group Executive Business Banking, Mike Vacy-Lyle said the bank has helped more than 6,500 customers whose businesses have been impacted by the pandemic. 

“Getting funds quickly to our customers means they have the cash flow they need to pay for critical expenses like wages, supplier payments and other overheads," Mr Vacy-Lyle said.

“We are doing all we can to help. The sheer demand we are seeing means our teams are working around the clock to help as many customers as possible and our priority right now is to get funds into accounts as quickly as we can."

Of the $555 million in loans approved, 42% were for New South Wales, followed by Victoria (27%) and Queensland (16%). 

Almost one in five businesses were in retail trade (18%), followed by construction (16%), accomodation, cafes and restaurants (14%), and business services (12%). 

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