CANBERRA, AAP – The competition watchdog has given the nod of approval for the nation’s banks to continue to work on a variety of support measures to assist customers during the pandemic and respond to further outbreaks.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says COVID-19 related relief packages allow for temporary coordination between the Australian Banking Association and participating banks.

This includes the deferral of loan repayments and the waiving of certain banking fees for small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

“In the context of COVID-19 related lockdowns and restrictions, the ACCC recognises that large numbers of businesses and individuals are continuing to experience significant financial hardship,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

“Without this authorisation, banks would be forced to offer separate financial relief packages without standardisation or consistency.”

Mr Sims said as well as offering customers the packages covered by the interim authorisation, banks can also individually offer more favourable and tailored solutions to their customers experiencing financial hardship.

The authorisation does not allow the banks to coordinate on any element of prices for any service or product.