Start-up businesses could soon be provided a greater choice in their banking options following a proposed expansion by Australia Post into the financial services industry.
The Future Fund is reportedly in talks with the government about rolling out new ‘financial supermarket’ services in a bid to prop up ailing Australia Post branches.
David Murray, the Future Fund chairman, has been quoted as saying that Australia Post could provide services including deposits and loans, processing of financial transactions, an ATM network and even superannuation products.
The potential move will be watched closely by small businesses, which have consistently complained about a lack of choice and competition in the banking market.
The situation has become particularly acute in the last three years, with many lenders refusing to back start-up businesses. Although lending by the ‘big four’ banks has increased, a number of other funding sources has dried up, leaving fledgling entrepreneurs short of options in securing finance.
Council of Small Business of Australia chief executive Peter Strong told SmartCompany that he broadly supported the proposal.
“We’ve got to see the detail, but I would be supportive of that measure because it would create something new, and competition in this area is a good thing. We’ve mentioned our support for the portable account number before, and this is a good example of a situation where you could use it.”
“In some parts of cities, you still need to drive to the bank and the parking is quite bad, it’s too far away from your other destinations and so on. But if you have an alternative post-office nearby, which could even be a smaller venue, you may find that it’s easier for you to go there.”
“I also think it will make it easier for some SMEs in rural areas where there isn’t a lot of competition. On terms of ease of access, this will make it much easier for a lot of SMEs.”