A recent roundtable hosted by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) looked at issues facing Australia’s small businesses, including challenges such as comparing and switching business financing products across different lenders.
The roundtable was chaired by RBA governor Philip Lowe, and was attended by representatives of:
- Australian Banking Association (ABA)Council of Small Business Australia (COSBA)
- Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
- Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA)
- ANZ (including CEO Shayne Elliott)
With the small business sector making a significant impact on Australia’s economy (accounting for “40% of all jobs or around 4.7 million people”, according to ABA CEO Anna Bligh), the roundtable sought to look at some of the challenges that small businesses face when they’re looking for external finance, including:
- Access to lending for start-ups and business expansion
- The heavy reliance on secured lending and the role of housing collateral and personal guarantees in lending
- The loan application process, including the administrative burden
- The ability to easily compare products across lenders and switch lenders
- Customising banking products for small business
The roundtable discussed options to improve the accessibility of information regarding small business financing options, and also heard from APRA regarding proposed revisions to bank capital framework in relation to small business lending.
Other policy initiatives that were discussed included the introduction of comprehensive credit reporting and open banking, with the participants agreeing that these initiatives could help to improve access to finance for small business.