The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says the interim authorisation is conditional on banks providing details of any programs and arrangements to the Commission before implementation, and seeking its approval in some circumstances.
“As required by the condition, the ABA has provided details of a business relief package whereby the banks agree to defer the principal and interest payments for loans by commercial property landlords, as long as they do not terminate the leases or evict the tenants,” the ACCC says, adding that “this will apply to loans of up to $10 million, with larger loans to be considered by individual banks on a case-by case basis”.
“We recognise the public benefit from enabling banks to respond quickly to provide a relief packages to businesses and individuals affected by the pandemic,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
Sims said banks will also be able to coordinate to ensure customers can access services, including, where possible, some counter services, in a range of locations and at various times.
“Individual banks can still offer more favourable and tailored terms to business customers outside of this proposed agreement.
“The conditions provide transparency over what is proposed and if major concerns are identified, the ACCC is able to revoke the interim authorisation, or require amendments.”
The interim authorisation applies to all ABA member banks who agree to participate, and will also be allowed to cooperate in support of future government initiatives.
The ACCC is now seeking feedback on the ABA’s application for interim authorisation as well as the substantive application.