ANZ is to pour $1 billion into new businesses over the next 12 months, in a bid to position itself as Australia’s most SME-friendly bank.
The funding, which is part of ANZ’s Banking on Australia program, follows new research highlighting the challenges faced by cash-strapped small businesses.
According to Nick Reade, ANZ general manager of small business banking, the funding is designed to ease the pain of accessing finance.
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“We know the first few years of running a small business can be challenging,” Reade says.
“A lot of new small business owners think that it’s only big businesses that get loans from the banks, but that’s not the case.
“In the last year, we approved more than seven out of every 10 lending applications from new small businesses.”
To apply for a small business loan, customers need a business plan, cashflow forecast, recent personal tax returns and no negative credit rating.
All applications for credit will be subject to ANZ’s normal credit approval criteria. Reade insists there is no additional criteria in order to receive a loan.
The information and tools needed to apply for lending are available via the ANZ Small Business Hub, an online platform offering small business resources, courses and templates.
Reade says ANZ is determined to become known as the bank for small businesses.
“The start-up and early stage business market is obviously a riskier market in some respects [but] we’ve been lending to this market for a number of years – five years plus,” he says.
“We’ve got a lot of history and understanding of this market… We want to make sure ANZ is known as the bank that supports small business.”
Successful credit applicants can expect to receive a loan of up to $200,000, says Reade, although it will vary depending on the nature of the business.
“We don’t favour categories. We have a broad range of things… They can be literally just an idea that’s on paper, in terms of a business plan,” he says.
“If you’re maybe three or four months in, or six months, and you’ve funded it yourself, and you’ve got to grow a little bit to make ends meet, or you’ve found an opportunity you want to grow, I think we’ll look at that as well.”
ANZ also offers first-year bundle packages to help entrepreneurs offset the cost of starting a new business. Reade says the bank is doing “a whole heap of things” to appeal to small businesses.
“We’re announcing a partnership with ENYA, which is the Enterprise Network for Young Australians. This is a new one, which is certainly to foster new entrepreneurs and help them with finance as well,” he says.
“We’re going to work with them… Their part of it is to mentor and coach new businesses with their ideas. They have coaching people who will work with the businesses on their business plan.
“[ANZ will handle] the financing side.”
This article first appeared on StartupSmart.