Business credit demand up - but are lenders doing their part?

Demand for business credit grew heavily in the June quarter, but small business owners in particular are concerned banks are still overly-hesitant to lend



Business credit demand grew more strongly in the June quarter, with credit applications up 5.5% on the previous corresponding period, according to the latest Veda Business Credit Demand Index.

The data comes just days after Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) CEO, Steven Münchenberg, announced an upcoming review of small business lending at the NAB Small Business Summit in Brisbane.

“A current issue raised by small business organisations is concern with access to credit and, in particular, whether small businesses that want to grow can get the funds they need,” he said.

Münchenberg pointed to discrepancies between what he termed ‘anecdotal’ evidence on the part of many small business owners, who claim banks are still too hesitant to lend in the wake of the GFC and the ‘aggregated statistics’ offered by banks, which indicated small business lending is at a ‘record high’.

“We have been working recently with DBM to try and get a better picture of what is happening with small business credit…I hope in coming weeks we will be ins a position to release a report that, for the first time, breaks down the aggregate data and gives us a much better picture of what is actually happening in small business across Australia.”

Though the Veda statistics are not relegated to small business lending, it does indicate that demand has picked up across the spectrum since the March quarter, when year-on-year growth was 2.2% and since the December quarter, when growth was up 3.7%.

Applications for business loans were up 9.9%, 5.8% for asset finance for asset finance and 1.1% for trade credit.

Growth was strongest in the non-mining states, with Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales experiencing the biggest increases.

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