More than 20,000 Australian businesses have received $1.98 billion in funding support made available through the Commonwealth Bank’s Government-backed SME Guarantee Loan Scheme to help them manage the impacts of the pandemic, recover and invest for the future.
The scheme, which the Federal Government launched on 22 March 2020 has seen various phases and was most recently expanded with the SME Recovery Loan Scheme (SMERLS).
Requirements to access the CBA SME loan scheme
Any business with annual turnover of less than $250 million which has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can borrow up to $5 million for up to 10 years at record low rates.
Across many sectors impacted by the pandemic, the loans have helped deliver vital cash flow to small businesses, providing them with some peace of mind during challenging times.
Furthermore, the funding has helped many businesses to pivot, innovate and adapt to the current conditions by facilitating transitioning online and expanding operations.
For those who have experienced increased demand, they are able to employ more staff.
Vic’s Meat benefits from the CBA SME loan scheme
One beneficiary of this scheme is the innovative meat wholesaling and retailing business, and a Commonwealth Bank business customer, Vic’s Premium Quality Meat.
The business was one of the first to access the SME Recovery Loan and is investing in a fit out of a new flagship store in Melbourne as well as building an online presence.
From humble beginnings to become a supplier of premium quality meat, Vic’s Meat was forced to navigate many pandemic related challenges in 2020, reinventing itself along the way.
With 250,000 kilograms of meat in stock at all times, lockdowns and restrictions hit fast and hard. Their answer was to pivot and launch their first online butcher, Vic’s Meat Direct.
This led regular punters to buy restaurant quality meat and the usual butcher staples.
Since launching a little over a year ago, the business has managed to clock in more than 100,000 deliveries and now offers delivery to 92% of Australian postcodes.
Fifth-generation butcher and Vic’s Meat owner, Anthony Puharich expressed optimism.
“We believe strongly in our meat quality and brand offering. While we’ve focused on building our online store in the last year, we’re excited to be using the loan to bring our iconic Victor Churchill brand to the Melbourne high street and fit out a new flagship store,” he said.
“We’re always looking to innovate our in-store customer experience and we’re planning to create something really special with plenty of bespoke finishes and interactive elements.”
“Whilst we hadn’t necessarily planned to do this during a pandemic, when the right opportunity came up in Melbourne, we were fortunate to be able to access the loan to move quickly.”
“Vic’s Meat is a family owned and run business. We could not have managed to expand and grow our operations without the support of the Commonwealth bank loan scheme.”
“It’s been critical in allowing us to establish and fit out our new flagship store to the highest quality standard, and employ 30 more staff when we open it this year,” Anthony said.
Key Data benefits from the CBA SME loan scheme
Queensland software analytics firm Key Data, is another exemplary business that has benefited from the government’s loan scheme and is now planning for future growth.
The Managing Director, Dave Keys said, “We had a number of ongoing contracts and project work with big companies that were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Key Data made the strategic decision to access the Commonwealth Bank loan scheme as additional cash flow and to keep the team in employment and bonded together.”
“It has enabled us to fast track developing new offerings close to our core strengths that we are currently commercialising with a growing client base during the downturn, as well as using the funds to market the business and get through to the end of the rocky period.”
“This facilitated diversifying to a strong position for growth and expanding our business. I’d encourage anyone considering taking out a loan through the scheme to look into it.”
CBA’s Executive General Manager, Business Lending, Clare Morgan was also optmistic.
“Impacts of the pandemic have been varied for businesses and sectors and many require credit while some are looking for additional capital to grow, invest and expand through recovery.”
“The expansion of SMERLS is an excellent initiative to ensure that more businesses will be able to access business lending at low rates and on flexible terms,” said Clare Morgan.
“The Commonwealth Bank plans to play a leading role in the expanded SME Recovery Loan Scheme as we have done through the various phases of the scheme and encourage businesses to speak with us about what might be suitable for their respective business needs.”
Businesses, both new to CBA and existing customers can now apply for a SME Recovery Loan for their term debt, working capital and asset finance needs on CBA’s website or call the 24/7 Australian based business banking contact centre on 13 19 98.