National Australia Bank says while it is keen to lend to small businesses, there are no plans for a return to pre- GFC “fast and loose” lending.
NAB business banking group executive Joseph Healy says a quarter of all domestic business loans are written by NAB – about $15 billion worth.
“Banks are keen to lend – in fact, in the business banking market, much more so today than at any time for the last two years – but they’re much more responsible in how they lend and who they lend to,” Healy told a business lunch in Sydney yesterday.
Healy said a cautious approach to lending was in the best interests of everyone.
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“That doesn’t mean that good customers with sensible business opportunities are not getting access to capital; that can’t happen and I recognise that,” Healy said.
But NSW Business Chamber director Patricia Forsythe said business lending was weak since the GFC. She cited a recent chamber survey that detailed smaller businesses’ difficulties to obtain finance from the big banks.
“Our surveys have shown they find accessing finance is getting harder, not easier,” Forsythe said. “Business identified access to finance as more a more significant barrier than the cost of funds.”