Lending to the small business sector remains strong, with conditions for growth improving, as outlined in our recent submission to the Australian Senate Economics Committee’s Inquiry into Access of Small Business to Finance.
The Committee, chaired by Senator Alan Eggleston, investigated issues related to small businesses' access to funding following concerns raised by the sector during the global financial crisis. Its terms of reference included lending policies and practices affecting small businesses, competition in the sector, and its effect on the economy.
Speaking at the Committee hearing, General Manager Small Business Banking, Nick Reade, described our long term commitment to the sector and initiatives in place to support family businesses including:
As conditions improve we are reviewing our small business lending criteria. For example, in March, we introduced a streamlined process for secured lending to enable access to finance with a reduced level of documentation and certification of financials.
The Committee's report, released in late June, made a series of recommendations designed to ensure the market remains competitive. These included removing exit fees on variable rate loans, maintaining the 'four pillars' policy which prevents mergers between the big four banks and a 12-month moratorium on any further consolidation between lenders.
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