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Small businesses impacted by the coronavirus will be able to defer their loan repayments for six months, under a plan put forward by the banking industry.

“This is a multi-billion-dollar lifeline for small businesses when they need it most, to help keep the doors open and keep people in jobs,” Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh said on Friday.

“”All that a business has to do is register their need with their bank,” Ms Bligh said.

Australia’s small businesses collectively have $100 billion in loans and this plan would save them $8 billion, she said.

Small businesses need relief and “they can rest assured their banks have got their bank,” she said.