WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand said on Tuesday that retail banks will offer a six-month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and small business customers whose incomes have been affected by the economic disruption from COVID-19.
The government and the banks will also implement a NZ$6.25 billion ($3.62 billion) business finance guarantee scheme for small and medium-sized businesses, to protect jobs and support the economy through this unprecedented time, Finance Minister Grant Robertson told a news conference.
The scheme will include a limit of NZ$500,000 per loan and will apply to firms with a turnover of between NZ$250,000 and NZ$80 million per annum.
The government will carry 80% of the credit risk, with the other 20% to be carried by the banks, Robertson said.
He added that the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) has decided to reduce banks’ core funding ratios to 50% from 75%, further helping banks make credit available.
(Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)