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How the SME Guarantee Scheme Can Help Your Business

Everything you need to know about the SME Guarantee Scheme

Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) are the backbone of the Australian economy. From the café on the corner where you get your morning coffee to the summer dresses you buy at the markets, it’s the personal touches from these hard working people that makes all the difference.

Many small businesses across the country are facing challenges due to the Covid-19. It is challenging with businesses needing access to vital additional funds to get through and lenders reluctant due to the state of the economy.

To accelerate the economic recovery, the Government is supporting up to $40 billion of lending to SMEs, ensuring businesses can benefit from lower interest rates.

SME Guarantee loans with

What is SME Guarantee Scheme?

The SME Guarantee Scheme is part of an economic package released by the Government to support Small to Medium Enterprise (SME). The Scheme allows access to low-cost loans for businesses who need a line of credit to continue their operations effectively.

How does the Scheme work?

So the Government has guaranteed 50% of new loans, but what does that actually mean? The SME Guarantee Scheme allows eligible lenders to access a $90 billion dollar funding pool at a low interest rate.  This has a two-fold effect for the economy.

  1. It keeps interest rates low for borrowers (small businesses).
  2. It encourages the flow of credit to continue, encouraging lenders to continue lending.

Who is eligible?

The Scheme includes Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), including sole traders and not-for-profits who meet the following criteria:

  • Hold an ABN
  • Less than $50 million annual turnover
  • Need assistance with current and upcoming cash flow, including working capital, liquidity and operating expenditure
  • Not receiving any other Government Scheme Loan

What is the point?

The scheme is designed to:

  • Keep small businesses running during a difficult economic environment
  • Give lenders confidence to extend finance

Rather than giving a grant or handout, the SME Guarantee Scheme works to help small business and support financial institutions by encouraging partnerships to bolster the economic performance in the short-term and setting it up for the long-term.

What does this mean for you?

If you are a small business owner you may have felt the effects of the coronavirus lockdown. Rather than closing your doors or accessing high-cost funding like credit cards, a low-cost business loan can keep your business thriving while the economy is recovering. It could even assist you to expand your business for the future.

You keep mentioning low rates. What exactly will it cost?

The cost of a loan on the SMEG will vary depending on your circumstances. Based on the lenders we partner with, the average interest rate is 5.5%

Some lenders are charging up to 18%, so be wary and do your research, or drop us a line and we can find the best value lender for you

How do I access the SME Guarantee Scheme?

The first thing to note is that SME Guarantee is not a grant. It is accessible through participating lenders, rather than applying through the Government.

The best option is to find a broker that can connect you to the best lender suited to your business needs. As a partner of many lenders participating in the scheme, we can find you the best rates and conditions. Check out our article 3 reasons you should use a broker.

What about responsible lending?

There is an interesting point written into the SME Guarantee Scheme that is worth mentioning. The Guarantee exempts lenders from responsible lending guidelines for 6 months that the Scheme is running. This means you can gain access to finance quickly and efficiently when you need it.

In reality, most lenders will not be changing their guidelines, it just means that the process will not be bogged down in unnecessary paperwork.

asset vs line of credit

What types of loans are on offer?

Under the SME Guarantee Scheme, small businesses can obtain finance to assist with cash flow or purchase of a new asset. Cash flow loans will be useful for businesses that have seen a temporary drop in revenue during lockdown. Most of the time these loans will come in the form of a line of credit. Asset finance is a lump can be used to obtain a new asset (such as equipment or machinery) to expand your business – a great idea while interest rates are low.

What is the difference between Asset Finance and a Line of Credit?

A line of credit loan gives a business access to a capped fund. They can draw from it if needed and will only be charged interest on the amount they have drawn

This is advantageous because you are not paying interest on money you haven’t yet drawn, yet the reassurance of having credit when you need it is there.

Asset finance is a lump sum to pay for the acquisition of new equipment, renovations or other one-off costs. They can be used to build your business and are best taken out when interest rates are low.

How much can I borrow?

SME Guarantee Scheme has been introduced in two phases.

Phase 1 – Ending 30th September, allows:

  • Maximum total size of loans of $250,000 per borrower
  • No Repayments for first 6 months
  • 3-year loan term
  • Unsecured finance, meaning that borrowers will not have to provide an asset as security for the loan

Phase 2 – Starting 1st October 2020 till 30th June 2021, will expand to:

  • Up to $1 million per borrower
  • No Repayments for first 6 months
  • 5-year loan term
  • Secured or unsecured

If you are interested in applying for a loan under the SME Guarantee Scheme, send us an enquiry. We are proud to be working directly with a range of participating lenders and can help you navigate the Scheme, finding you the perfect solution, tailored to your needs.

man reading newspaper on bench

Business Bulletin #1



Welcome to the first business bulletin. We are passionate about bringing you the news that affects your business in the industries that keep Australia moving. We’ll be keeping you up to date with the economic stories of the week as they develop and letting you know how we can help steer your business through these turbulent times. This week we’ll be focusing on three of the nations biggest industries: Transport, agriculture and construction.



Amid the coronavirus epidemic Australia’s transport industry are essential in keeping the country moving. Affecting the transport industry this week are increased inspections in NSW and news of a proposed income smoothing scheme.

truck driving under the cloudy sky
NSW police will be ramping up inspections over the next few weeks

NSW police double up on truck compliance blitz

The NSW police are ramping up the inspection of heavy vehicles, with 175 trucks stopped at the Pine Creek Heavy Vehicle Inspection Station this week. Amongst the checks included:

  • 100 random drug tests, resulting in three positive tests
  • 140 infringements for work diary, load restraints and fail to enter
  • Six fatigue charges
  • 25 engine control module downloads with three instances of non-compliance, resulting in defects issued.

NSW police noted that the majority of heavy vehicle drivers were complying with fatigue and vehicle standards.

ALRTA calls for income smoothing scheme

The recent economic downturn has called for the induction of an “income smoothing scheme” for truck drivers – similar to the Farm Management Deposit Scheme available to primary producers. Under the FMDS, primary producers can make tax-deductible deposits in ‘good years’ that can be withdrawn and taxed in later years.

ALRTA believes that a similar scheme for the Rural Transport industry could similarly assist eligible road transport businesses become more resilient, reducing need for direct government assistance.

Given that the proposal is largely based on the existing FMDS, it might be possible to make provisions for a small-scale pilot in the 2020-21 Federal Budget.



The biggest news to affect the AG industry now are the rising trade tensions with China. Earlier this week China announced that they will cease buying Australian beef as well as new tariffs on Barley.

Australian cattle prices
Australian beef may be destined for other markets following the ban on imports from China

Beef with China

Amid calls for an enquiry into the origins of the Coronavirus China has announced that it has banned the import of beef from four major Australian Beef producers.

The ban follows breaches in export protocols and are similar to a ban that occurred in July 2017 – making the link between coronavirus enquiry and the bans debatable.

Conspiracies aside – what does it actually mean for the beef industry?

It could mean to a loss of jobs in the long term, while in the short-term beef producers will be looking for new markets for their beef.

For primary producers it means they may need to hold their stock that is currently ready to slaughter. If the ban persists a drop in beef prices could inflict a further blow to the industry.

Barley Tax

China has also announced an 80% tariff on Australian Barley in response to cheap Australian barley hurting their domestic market.

For Australian farmers this makes it unviable to sell their barley to the Chinese market. Since the announcement of the tariff the price of barley has dropped 20 – 30 %

This puts barley producers in a similar position to beef producers. Either cop the lower prices or fid a new market.

Meanwhile, the local availability of cheap barley could see it replacing wheat as the food of choice in feedlots.



This week the effects of coronavirus are still dominating the headlines.  The coronavirus pandemic has slowed growth in the private sector, calling for government action to stimulate the industry with public projects

construction cranes against a blue sky
The construction industry is calling for government intervention

Commercial construction sector set to face decline

In the wake up the coronavirus pandemic, the commercial construction sector is looking to decline by 15.7% in 20/21 and 11.5% in 21/22. The lockdown has decimated private sector demand and demand is not predicted to rise as restrictions ease.

Master builders is calling for government action to develop a COVID19 action plan for the building and construction industry to address the looming crisis. On recommendation is to bring forward maintenance on government buildings.

Some experts are calling for an increase in social housing development. This will have a  two-fold effect for Australians – it will help ease rental pressure for low income Australians as well as stimulate the local jobs market. The taller a building gets the more demand for imported components. Therefore, a focus on single or double storey dwellings will be most beneficial for local industries.

Victorian government to stimulate construction industry

The Victorian government has announced a $2.7 billion Building Works blitz that is predicted to create 3700 jobs. The package will provide jobs for painters, plasterers, gardeners, plumbers, electricians, carpenters and more.

At the core of the package is a $1.18 billion investment into education infrastructure

Recyclable “archimats” to revolutionise construction industry

Researchers from Monash University are pioneering a breakthrough recyclable material whose many applications have the potential to revolutionise the construction industry.

Archimats are ‘architectured’ materials that have an organised intertwined or interlocking inner architecture that can be engineered to have superior strength, a high tolerance to damage and good thermal insulation compared with other conventional composite materials such as concrete.

Its proposed uses include:

  • In the construction industry to reduce the use of concrete and cut carbon dioxide emissions associated with its production;
  • To build or rebuild in arid or disaster-affected zones. This includes rapidly deployable and removable structures in danger areas, such as a town or city impacted by fire, for first responders and displaced citizens;
  • In extra-terrestrial and space construction. The European Space Agency is already considering this type of architectured material for the construction of a lunar base; and
  • In smart toys and games, such as 2D and 3D puzzles.

A further benefit of archimats is the ease of assembly and disassembly it provides a structure, as well as the nearly full recyclability of the elements involved.


Our brokers are specialists in the transport, agriculture and construction industries. If you are looking for a loan to grow your business, drop us a line and find out how we can help find the right finance for you

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bank statement fees

The Hidden Cost of Business Finance

There is a reason for the saying “always read the fine print.” Often when seeking finance, the figure people pay the most attention to is the interest rate. To most people this is the defining mark of quality in any finance contract. While it’s certainly one of the things that is addressed when negotiating finance on behalf of my clients, it is not the only factor in determining the overall value of a loan.

Interest Rates – why are they so important?

The reason that interest rates are commonly a primary focus in finance is the fact that every finance contract has one, and at first glance the numbers are easily measured against each other. A small difference in interest rates on a large loan will make all the difference in the size of the repayments, but it may not be the only factor in the value of the loan.

OK, so what else do I need to consider?

Although the interest rate is important and always needs to be addressed there are many other factors to consider. You may want to consider the term of the loan, frequency of repayments, any extra upfront fees as well as ongoing monthly fees. Another factor that may affect the affordability of your loan is whether it is to be secured against an asset or unsecured.

Secured vs Unsecured

Many lenders will offer the option of securing a loan against an asset to allow you to borrow a larger amount or obtain a better rate. The benefit of having a secured business loan is that you can often get a better rate. The downside is that you have the risk of losing your assets if you cannot afford to repay the loan. Unsecured loans however will come with lower loan amounts and higher rates as they are considered more of a risk by the lender.

Hidden Fees to look out for

Many loans have a plethora of hidden fees, some charged as a one-off upfront fee, and others as a recurring monthly fee.

Here is a summary of the hidden fees that may be included in a finance contract:

  • Application fee

    putting together an application costs the lender time, and they will often pass these costs on in the way of an application fee. May also be known as establishment fee or start-up fee.

  • Origination fee

    An origination fee is similar to an application fee in that the lender is trying to recover the costs of packaging a loan offer. This could be a flat fee or a percentage of your loan.

  • Documentation fee

    This is the fee for creating the documents related to your loan. This may include the cost of retrieving official or government documents.

  • Maintenance fees

    Some lenders may charge a fee to cover the administrative costs of keeping the loan open. This can add up to a considerable cost over the life of the loan.

  • Banking and payment fees

    These could include fees incurred from direct debits, late payment fees or dishonour fees

  • Prepayment/break fees

    Also known as exit fees, settlement fees or early termination fees, these are charged when you pay your loan early. Some lenders will charge you for paying off the loan early to counter the money they will be losing on interest over the term of your loan.

  • Fixed rate lock in fee

    A lender may charge a fee to lock the loan in at a certain interest rate to protect the loan from market fluctuations. This will also keep the interest rate at a higher rate if overall rate goes down.

  • External fees

    Also known as third party fees, these are incurred when a lender chooses to pass on costs associated with procuring the loan, such as appraisals.

Case Study

Let’s take a closer look and compare two different loans:

  • Finance company A charges an annual interest rate of 12% with no other fees at all associated with the finance contract.
  • Finance company B charges an interest rate of 10.5% but with a $600 upfront documentation fee, a $900 admin fee and $30 monthly recurring fee.

In the following table we compare two loans from these companies’ using a loan amount of $10,000 and $100,000

Company A

Company B Company A

Company B

Loan Amount


10,000 100,000


Interest Rate


10.5%pa 12%pa


Loan Term

5 years

5 years 10 years

10 years

Monthly Direct Debit Fee


1.99 0


Monthly Account Maintenance Fee


30 0


Upfront Documentation Fee


600 0


Upfront Administration Fee


900 0




11,500 100,000


Monthly Repayment


248 1,435


Total Repayable


14,196 172,200


Total Recurring Fees Charged


1919.4 0


Grand Total Paid


16,115.4 172,200






As you can see, for the smaller loan amount, the loan from company A is better, because although it has a higher interest rate the lack of extra fees make it better value overall. With this in mind, I’m sure you can see the contract with the higher rate would be a better option for the client in this scenario.

However, for the larger loan, the higher fees are negated by the lower overall interest rate.

Let us do the walking for you  

I’m sure you can see now why it is important to have an expert fully understand the ins and outs of any finance contract you enter into. Just because you get the best interest rate doesn’t necessarily mean you have the best deal.

At we have worked for various banks, finance companies, and fintechs.  This ensures we know their respective credit policies which allows us to approach the right lender to secure the funding you need to grow your business.

If you want to get in touch with us to learn more or discuss your business requirements please contact our Broker Manager Ben Murphy or call on 0408815839