The Experts

Rohan Gamble
+ About Rohan Gamble

About Rohan Gamble

Rohan Gamble is a well-known finance industry entrepreneur in Australia. He is currently the founding CEO of leading financial comparison site Mozo, and previously set up Virgin Money in Australia.

All this has given Rohan unique insight into the challenges that Australian businesses face when it comes to banks and finance, as well as broader strategy.

Rohan also has a background in management consulting and executive management.  He spent four years with Booz Allen & Hamilton and later founded and ran his own consulting firm focused on business strategy for large international financial services firms.

Rohan has a Bachelor of Civil Engineering and a Bachelor of Economics from Monash University, and a Master of Business Administration from INSEAD, France.

SMEs no longer second-class banking citizens

Friday, March 21, 2014

by Rohan Gamble

The availability and cost of business finance in Australia is improving as we rebound from the global financial crisis and its aftermath.

The big banks such as ANZ, Westpac and St George are committing billions of dollars to small and medium enterprise lending. ANZ has doubled its commitment to SME lending, pledging $2 billion over the next 12 months to support Australian enterprise and economic growth.

At Westpac, business lending in the first quarter of 2014 is up 6 per cent on a year ago while St George has also been bullish on the growth of its business lending book this year.

Great rates for business

And it’s not only the availability of business credit that is on the upswing. Business customers are now getting a better deal on interest rates than they were in the dark years following the GFC.

Analysis by shows that between January 2012 and January 2014, the banks actually passed on more of the Reserve Bank’s rate cuts to business loan and business credit card customers than to personal home loan and credit card customers.

Business loan customers received 84% of the RBA’s cuts while standard variable home loan customers got 78% and unsecured personal loan customers got just 63%.

When it comes to savings, we’re seeing similar favourable behaviour. Business saver accounts have been cut by less than personal saver accounts over the same time frame so that the average business saver rate is now on par with the average personal saver rate for the first time in years.

A bright new era

This new generosity towards business banking customers represents a real turnaround from the years following the GFC where business customers were regularly shortchanged by the banks on RBA rate movements compared to retail customers.

The signs are positive that the banks are now valuing, and investing in, their business customers and that Australia’s SMEs will be able to get access to competitive business funding and banking services to support their growth.

It's a good time to be a small business. The latest Dun & Bradstreet Business Expectations Survey found that 70% of businesses are more optimistic about growth this year compared to 2013. In addition, 38% expect higher profits, and 20% intend to borrow to expand their business.

With Australian banks helping SMEs get the opportunities they deserve, they'll play a key role in driving Australia's economic growth over the next few years.