Steven Münchenberg

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Access to finance not a big issue for small business, bankers' research says

11:39AM | Tuesday, 5 November

Access to finance is only a concern to SMEs wanting to grow, and even then, isn't seen as a huge issue, a report released yesterday shows.   A study conducted by DBM Financial Service Monitors for the Australian Bankers' Association and the Council of Small Business of Australia has found only 6.6% of small businesses were concerned about their access to finance.   This was higher in some industries, particularly mining, where the figure jumped up to 16%, telecommunications services, where it was 11%, and manufacturing, where 9% of those surveyed were worried about their access to finance.   Of those who did have concerns, they were worried about not being able to access finance quickly enough to take advantage of new opportunities as they come up.   The report was commissioned by the Banks Association after it became concerned that it wasn't adequately understanding the needs of small businesses when it came to financing.   Asked what were their most pressing concerns about their businesses, almost half of the 20,000 small businesses surveyed nominated overall economic conditions. This was closely followed by cost management.   ABA chief Steven Münchenberg said it was understandable financing wasn't a major issue of concern at the present time.   “Business conditions remain below average, although business confidence has recently increased, it’s too early to know yet whether this trend will continue,” he said.   “We will be continuing to discuss these issues with COSBOA and look for ways to make it easier for small business to apply and obtain finance while at the same time balancing banks’ obligations to be responsible lenders.”   The report also found most small businesses made use of bank financing.   Of the estimated two million small businesses in Australia, 49% have a bank lending product other than a credit card. If credit cards are included, 71% of small businesses have a lending product.   This story first appeared on SmartCompany.

Small business satisfaction with banks falls again: Survey

5:31AM | Wednesday, 29 May

Small businesses are already disappointed with the major banks, but newly released survey results show the relationship between the big four and SMEs has soured even further.   The release of Roy Morgan data regarding bank satisfaction comes as the Small Business Council of Australia (COSBOA) hosts a roundtable in Canberra today, in order to discuss the current problems facing small business access to finance.   Roy Morgan data released yesterday shows satisfaction among the big four's business customers in April was just 63.7%, down from 64%, and still well below the satisfaction level of personal customers, which sat at 78.9% in April.   The figures show the satisfaction gap between small businesses and banks has continued to widen, with personal customer satisfaction improving by 2.4 percentage points compared to business satisfaction, which has fallen by 0.4 percentage points.   Westpac leads the survey, followed by the Commonwealth Bank, NAB and ANZ. The Commonwealth Bank moved up three percentage points over the past year – the only one of the big four to improve – and ANZ has fallen by 4.4 points.   The satisfaction differs between different-sized businesses. The micro segment, with turnover less than $1 million a year, was the least satisfied segment at 63.3%, but the segment covering businesses with over $55 million in turnover didn't record any significant improvement, at just 67.6%.   Norman Morris, communications director at Roy Morgan, said in a statement the banks are continuing to struggle.   "It is obvious that a poor rating among business customers will impact on personal customer ratings yet this is often not clearly understood. In the case of the approximately two million small businesses; the owners' personal and business interests are closely interlinked, as is their banking."   Part of the dissatisfaction comes due to interest rate levels. Although the banks have passed on the most recent rate cut to business products, traditionally business loans attract higher interest rates and banks are loathe to pass on any cut in the official rate.   Peter Strong, executive director of COSBOA, told SmartCompany this morning the findings are apt given today's conference about small business access to finance.   "I think this reflects just a drop in confidence in general," he says.   "The other disappointment we're seeing is the difference between interest rates for consumers and businesses. They've come back closer, but why is there even a difference?"   Most recently the big four passed on interest rate cuts to business customers, although ANZ was the only bank not to extend the same rate cut to business customers as individual mortgage holders.   Such problems are what Strong hope to address today at the roundtable with attendees including Steven Munchenberg, the chief executive of the Australian Banking Association, along with COSBOA board members and a range of experts.   Other topics of discussion include identifying the specific types of SMEs which want to grow, and how many of them need access to credit.   "We just want more information," Strong says.   Earlier this year the small business community was disappointed by the news the federal government would back down on legislation which would regulate small business credit.   This story first appeared on SmartCompany.

Small business set to benefit from revised Code of Banking Practice

3:01AM | Friday, 15 March

Banks will need to give at least 10 days’ notice before making any materially adverse changes to small business customers’ terms and conditions, as part of the revised Code of Banking Practice.

Online retail boom sees credit card fraud soar

7:10AM | Friday, 13 July

The Australian Bankers’ Association has issued a stark warning to merchants and consumers over payment fraud, with new data showing credit card fraud is surging as online retail booms.

THE NEWS WRAP: Swan hopes GDP growth figures will change economic conversation

6:18PM | Wednesday, 6 June

Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan has claimed that yesterday’s strong GDP figures would put the “doomsayers” of Australia’s economy “back in their box.”

Industry groups cast doubt on Labor’s surplus pledge

11:04AM | Tuesday, 29 November

Industry groups have thrown their support behind the Federal Government’s renewed promise to return the budget to surplus, but have raised doubts over the measures it will use to achieve this.

Australian Bankers’ Association rejects call for credit card surcharging cap

7:30AM | Tuesday, 26 July

The Australian Bankers’ Association has rebuffed a proposal to cap the surcharge fees imposed by credit card customers, much to the dismay of EFTPOS payment platforms.

Social media surge fuelling credit card scams: Report

6:39AM | Thursday, 23 June

New figures reveal online credit card scams are increasing, with social media attributed partial blame, but the Australian Bankers Association insists fraud rates are still low.

Scams double amidst evolving technology

3:11PM | Monday, 7 March

A new report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reveals scam-related reports more than doubled from 2009 to 2010, with online scams soaring.

ATM fees spark investor interest

2:41AM | Thursday, 17 February

A new report has revealed that investors are seeing increased potential in the ATM market, prompting a renewed call for a cap on ATM fees.

Brisbane businesses begin clean up

1:46PM | Sunday, 16 January

Business owners in Brisbane are beginning the enormous clean up operation as a result of the floodwaters which saw the Brisbane River break its banks.

Mixed response to Swan’s banking plan

12:16PM | Monday, 13 December

Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan’s proposed banking reforms have received mixed reviews from business and banking representatives.

Government to look at portable bank account number proposal

12:07PM | Sunday, 5 December

The Federal Government will examine how to make it easier for borrowers to switch lenders, considering measures such as introducing portable bank account numbers.

Banking group hits back at Hockey over interest rates

2:46PM | Wednesday, 2 February

The Australian Bankers’ Association has hit back at shadow treasurer Joe Hockey’s insistence that the government should do more to force the banks to keep their interest rates down.

Ombudsman set to name and shame banks

12:34AM | Monday, 6 December

Businesses will soon be on a better footing with banks and other lenders, with the Financial Ombudsman Service planning to publicly name and shame the worst offenders.

Government rules out small business bank idea

12:05AM | Monday, 6 December

The government will not follow the UK and Canada and actively encourage the establishment of a bank specifically for small businesses, the new small business minister has told StartupSmart.

Greens to push ahead with bank fee cap plans

12:31AM | Monday, 6 December

The Greens will continue to push for new regulation on banks to place caps on savings account charges and ban $2 ATM fees.

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