Major bank to increase business lending in 2015

by Julia Corderoy02 Feb 2015
NAB’s chief executive has vowed to make business lending a top priority for the major lender this year, after recent market share losses in the segment.

Business lending has historically been a key driver of growth for the bank, which holds the largest share in business banking, however it has faced heightened competition as the market bets on a rebound in the segment.

Executive general manager of NAB Business Cindy Batchelor told Fairfax that she expected the bank will invest more resources to target SME customers as a part of chief executive, Andrew Thorburn’s strategy.

With all of the majors eyeing the growing SME market, Batchelor says the market remains “highly competitive”. Australian Broker has also previously reported on the rise of peer-to-peer lenders entering the growing SME market and vowing to take on the major banks’ “restrictive” and “high cost” lending – adding to the competitive business banking landscape.

While Batchelor says credit demand for SMEs is currently “on the soft side”, a report released by NAB earlier this month says there are plenty of opportunities for SMEs in the year ahead.

“Technology will continue to remove barriers that once put SMEs at a disadvantage,” Dean Pearson, NAB’s head of industry analysis says. “It’s opened up a global market place for SMEs, giving them access to an audience that was unimaginable just a few years ago.

“Cloud computing is continuing to replace expensive software and servers, and I think there’ll be more opportunities for smaller businesses and microbusinesses to use the technology systems of larger businesses. This not only helps solve problems associated with scale, it introduces opportunities for collaboration and innovation.”