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Despite COVID-19 slowing down activity in many industries, the business loans market has remained busy throughout 2020. For over 250 days now, Australian banks have approved more than 500 loan applications from small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) a day. This is according to the latest data from the Australian Banking Association (ABA), which shows a whopping total of $41 billion has been lent out to SMEs and sole traders between 1 February and 7 October. ABA’s chief executive, Anna Bligh said that with the loan approval rate sitting at 70%, it’s clear Australian banks haven’t left struggling small businesses behind. “Australian banks are continuing to provide a lifeline to small and medium businesses across the country. The rate of lending has held up strongly despite the pandemic,” she said. “The banks’ commitment to small business has been supported by a number of Government and regulatory measures, including the RBA’s Term Funding Facility, changes to business lending rules, the instant asset write-off, and the SME loan guarantee.”These figures come after the federal government announced plans last month to scrap ‘responsible lending’ laws in order to further reduce red tape around accessing credit. The proposed shift from the current practice of “lender beware” to a “borrower responsibility” principle would essentially allow lenders to rely on the income and expense information provided by borrowers, helping to speed up the loan approval process. Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell said she supported the proposal as a step towards loosening unrealistic serviceability rules for small businesses. “We are aware of small businesses that have been asked for all sorts of documentation by the banks - even for loans that have been 50 percent guaranteed by the Federal Government - including director guarantees, which really means the family home. It’s no wonder small businesses owners are reluctant to borrow,” she said. “Importantly the banks will still be accountable to ASIC [Australian Securities and Information Commission] and the Government has pledged greater protections for vulnerable borrowers.”
Ever heard of a neo business credit card? Say hello to Melbourne-based fintech Archa. This week, Archa announced that it has become a principal issuing member of Mastercard, meaning it can access the card providers leading global payment network. The partnership will allow the fintech to launch its new neo business credit card along with an app with innovative tools to help businesses manage their expenses. “This is a really important strategic milestone for Archa. We’re thrilled to have the support of Mastercard as a critical foundation to our business model,” Archa’s chief executive, Oliver Kidd said. “We look forward to working closely with Mastercard over the coming years to support small businesses throughout the region.”
As lenders gear up for phase two of the government’s SME Loan Guarantee Scheme, new Commonwealth Bank figures have emerged showing NSW and Victorian businesses have snagged the biggest piece of the scheme’s funding pie to date. NSW and Victoria made up almost two-thirds of CommBank’s government-backed loans (38% and 26% respectively), while Queensland came in third place at 16%. “Obviously different lockdown measures have impacted some businesses more than others and many of our customers, particularly those in the greater Melbourne and greater Sydney area, worked with our bankers to quickly ensure they had extra cash flow in case they needed it,” CommBank’s group executive for business banking, Mike Vacy Lyle said. Under the first phase of the scheme, the government guaranteed half of all unsecured three-year business loans of up to $250,000 issued by participating lenders including CommBank, ANZ and 39 other smaller providers. Under phase two, the loan terms have been extended to five years, and loan amounts increased to $1 million. Almost 20,000 small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) took advantage of phase one, with CommBank approving loans for 9,400 of these firms. According to CommBank, nearly one-fifth of those businesses belonged to the property and business services sector (17%), while 16% came from retail, 14% from construction, and 14% from accommodation, cafes and restaurants - all industries that experienced high levels of disruption due to COVID-19.
For small businesses across Australia this may have been one of the most important federal budgets yet. On top of extended coronavirus stimulus packages like JobKeeper, the 2020-21 Budget was a ray of hope that more financial relief would be rolled out to help companies and the economy recover from the current recession. So what exactly is the federal government pledging to deliver to support small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through this period? From tax offsets to a new wage subsidy program, there’s lots in the pipeline to watch for. In fact, businesses are set to receive $31.6 billion in tax breaks - almost twice as much as households. But unlike households, the business tax incentives are only temporary, with an aim of encouraging more investment in jobs and ‘big ticket’ items (like new equipment and machinery) over the next few years. Read on for a snapshot of budget support measures for your small business:
Mozo is everything business banking should be - fast and easy. If you are self employed, starting a new business or simply looking to get a better banking deal for your small business, Mozo helps you to compare business credit cards, business loans, savings, business bank accounts and more. Our database has all the major banks and challenger brands, fees, interest rates, terms and conditions in the one place making it easy to shop around for a better deal for small businesses. With our nifty comparison tool you can compare banking products side by side or add them to a shortlist - all in a few simple clicks. No queuing in bank branches or wasting hours with complicated spreadsheets.
We know that many business need a line of credit to invest in developments or to purchase stock, so have plenty of information about short term business loans in Australia. We also have a business loan repayment calculator so you can easily work out how much funds you need to allocate to service your loan and when you can expect to have it paid off.