28 August 2023
Research released by the ABA today shows total credit outstanding to SMEs at the end of last financial year had reached $588 billion – a 28% increase from the year prior.
The Banking By Numbers report demonstrates 302,945 new loans worth $200 billion were issued by banks to SMEs over the last financial year.
The report was launched at an event in Western Sydney, ‘Resilience of small business’ hosted by the ABA and Business NSW and attended by business representatives from across the region.
“This research shows banks are fuelling credit to the lifeblood of Australia’s economy, our SMEs. Banks also understand many customers are doing it tough battling a quick succession of interest rate rises, inflation and associated cost of living challenges,” said ABA CEO Anna Bligh.
“This is why today the ABA is launching a new Financial Assistance Hub, to help small businesses and customers understand what banks can do to help those experiencing financial difficulty.”
Designed as a step-by-step guide out of financial difficulty, the Hub is an easy to navigate, plain English resource providing customers and small businesses with important information and support.
“Originally launched to assist businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hub has been updated and completely revised to ensure it is useful, easy to comprehend and relevant to those in need,” Ms Bligh said.
Business Western Sydney Executive Director, David Borger – who spoke as part of a panel at the event today – said: “The most precious resource a business owner has is their time. Providing them with an easy to navigate service through the Financial Assistance Hub is a great initiative to provide meaningful assistance when many business owners are feeling the impact of rising costs, inflation and interest rates.”
Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) CEO Luke Achterstraat said: “We know that access to capital is critical for small businesses particularly with a perfect storm of costs across the board. While there is more work to be done, these latest figures indicate a significant uplift in SME lending which is a positive sign.”
Ms Bligh said banks also recognise the need for a sustainable financial counselling model to help customers with advice and support about their finances.
“Financial counsellors get people back on track when they are experiencing the most difficult moments in their lives,” Ms Bligh said.
“Banks stand ready to support the Government’s voluntary financial counselling scheme, committing $6.15 million in the first year, starting in January 2024.”
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