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APRA advises regulatory approach to COVID-19 support

Monday 23 March 2020

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) today confirmed its regulatory approach to the COVID-19 support packages being offered by banks and other lenders to their borrowers in the current environment.

Many banks have recently announced COVID-19 support packages that provide affected borrowers with an option to defer their repayments for a period of up to six months. These packages have mainly been offered to small business and home loan customers. 

Where a borrower who has been meeting their repayment obligations until recently chooses to take up the offer not to make repayments as part of a COVID-19 support package, the bank need not treat the period of the repayment holiday as a period of arrears. Similarly, loans that have been granted a repayment deferral as part of a COVID-19 support package need not be regarded as restructured.

APRA will be writing to all authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) to advise them of the specific reporting treatment for loans subject to these support arrangements. APRA will require ADIs to report to APRA, and publicly disclose, the nature and terms of any repayment deferrals and the volume of loans to which they are applied. ADIs must also still continue to provision for these loans under relevant accounting standards.

APRA also confirmed that the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme announced by the Commonwealth Government yesterday is to be regarded as an eligible guarantee by the government for risk-weighting purposes.

COVID-19

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The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) is the prudential regulator of the financial services industry. It oversees banks, credit unions, building societies, general insurance and reinsurance companies, life insurance, private health insurers, friendly societies, and most members of the superannuation industry. APRA currently supervises institutions holding $6.5 trillion in assets for Australian depositors, policyholders and superannuation fund members.