Coronavirus: Banks accused of refusing to lend money to tourism businesses desperate for finance

Banks are being accused of refusing to lend money to tourism businesses which are desperate for finance.

The industry's income dried up completely when the COVID-19 crisis first hit home months ago. 

It was once our biggest export earner but now they're among many businesses wanting a government hand out. 

A multi-million-dollar tourism operator, who Newshub has agreed not to name, says the banks' roll-out of the government's guaranteed loan scheme is a rort.

We were asking for $40,000 with a solid plan showing that we could survive, change, thrive, all of those sorts of things. That was declined.

"We're getting comments from the bank that they're getting told that they will be able to support very few tourism businesses." 

Tourism Industry Association chief executive Chris Roberts said it's heard dozens of such reports.

"It's probably the second or third biggest concern they have."

Banks say they're here to help but can't help every business in every sector. 

"If the business case doesn't stack up or isn't justifiable, well that's when it gets really hard and really challenging," said New Zealand Bankers' Association chief executive Roger Beaumont.  

Banks have loaned an extra $6.9 billion to businesses since the lockdown began but none of them under the guaranteed loans scheme.

Every size business is struggling right now and desperate to get cash to cover their expenses.

The owner of a dog grooming franchise, Angela Anderson, says a cash handout from the Government would be a huge help.

"A cash grant would definitely help about now I can tell you," she told Newshub. "We're already into overdraft."

The Australian Government is giving cash in hand - between $20,000 and $100,000 to any business that employs staff. 

"My outgoings are $11,000 a month," Anderson said. "I'd be happy with $10,000 - that would be great." 

Business owners have told Newshub they think the government's health response has been fantastic but they feel they've been left out in the cold, with their only option to take on more debt and that's if they can find someone to lend it.