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Support to see retailers through challenging times

These are uncertain times for retailers across Australia, particularly those in areas facing protracted lockdowns and trading restrictions. We are committed to continue supporting businesses as they navigate their various pandemic-related challenges. 

We understand that things can change quickly, which is why we’ve prepared a range of ways to help our customers get back on track today for a better tomorrow. Our current initiatives include making financial relief measures available to retailers and providing webinars to examine the evolving economic situation and answer questions on how to access CommBank and government support. Recognising the toll that the pandemic can take on our mental health and wellbeing, we are also offering support to keep customers mentally fit, with our partner, Smiling Mind.

Strong rebound anticipated

In our latest webinar with customers, CommBank economists outlined how the New South Wales lockdown was impacting the otherwise strong economic recovery from the events of 2020. 

At this stage, our economists expect the total value of goods and services sold in NSW (State Final Demand) to contract by 9 per cent in the September quarter. This would see the national economy shrink by 2.7 per cent, with the weakness largely in household consumption. Our transaction data also shows a fall in spending across all categories except food and alcohol.

According to CommBank’s recent economic insights research the outlook beyond this quarter, however, is positive. A rebound of 1.9 per cent is forecast for the December quarter. This assumes that it will take until at least late October before 80 per cent of the 16+ population are vaccinated and therefore, significant restrictions in Greater Sydney will ease in the middle of Q4 calendar year 2021. 

This rebound is expected to be followed by growth of 3.3 per cent in 2022, building on the 3.6 per cent growth expected in 2021. This encouraging medium term forecast is also partly based on households accruing additional savings of $200 billion during the pandemic. This, and pent-up demand, will greatly benefit retailers once the lockdowns end.

Financial and wellbeing support

A range of support measures is available to help affected businesses navigate the current situation and emerge as strongly as possible.

The State Governments are providing various business grants to support businesses impacted by the lockdowns. At the same time, employees who have lost income because they must self-isolate or quarantine can apply for the Federal Government’s Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment. The New South Wales Government is also offering payroll tax waivers and deferrals.

Eligible CommBank business customers who have applied for the Federal or State Government support measures and need additional cash flow support in the interim can call our Business Financial Assistance team on 13 26 07 to request bridging finance.

Eligible CommBank BetterBusiness Loan holders can also request a loan repayment deferral, by calling the Business Financial Assistance Team on 13 26 07 or their dedicated relationship manager.

CommBank retailer customers facing financial difficulty can ask for a refund of a range of CommBank Merchant fees by calling the Merchant Services team on 1800 230 177. 

More information about the Government and CommBank support initiatives is in the Financial Support Guide and business section of our dedicated support hub. 

On top of financial pressures, many business owners are likely to be experiencing mental strain. In fact, in our most recent Consumer Insights research, we found that more than one in two Australians said the events of 2020 had negatively impacted their mental health, with a far greater proportion for those whose employment was impacted.

Therefore, in order to support our business customers, we’ve partnered with leading prevention-focused mental health not-for-profit, Smiling Mind, to deliver a series of 30-minute webinars throughout August. The series covers mindfulness, stress management and performance. To find out more about the topics we will cover and to register your attendance visit this webpage.

CommBank is here to support Australian retailers get back on track today for a better tomorrow. For more information reach out to your dedicated CommBank Relationship Manager or email

Author: Jerry Macey, Executive Manager, Consumer and Diversified Industries – Business Banking at Commonwealth Bank.

Things you should know:
The Consumer Insights report has been published for general information purposes only. As this information has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs, you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances and, if necessary seek professional advice. 

The Bank believes that the information in the report is correct and any opinions, conclusions or recommendations are reasonably held or made, based on the information available at the time of its compilation, but no representation or warranty, either expressed or implied, is made or provided as to accuracy, reliability or completeness of any statement made in the report. Any projections and forecasts are based on a number of assumptions and estimates and are subject to contingencies and uncertainties. Different assumptions and estimates could result in materially different results. The report refers to data sourced from an online survey of 5656 consumers. The survey was undertaken by ACA Research on behalf of the Commonwealth Bank. All analysis and views of future market conditions are solely those of the Commonwealth Bank. 

The CommBank offers and support are current as at the time of writing, but are subject to withdrawal or change without notice.  

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. You should consider seeking independent financial advice before making any decision based on this information. The information in this article and any opinions, conclusions or recommendations are reasonably held or made, based on the information available at the time of its publication but no representation or warranty, either expressed or implied, is made or provided as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of any statement made in this article.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 234945.