Banks close in on $600 billion in loans to SMEs


Research released by the Australian Banking Association (ABA) has revealed that banks have provided $588 billion in loans to SMEs in the last financial year, a 28 per cent increase from the year prior.  

The latest Banking By Numbers report reveals that 302,945 new loans worth $200 billion were issued by banks to SMEs over the last financial year.   

The report was launched at the ‘Resilience of Small Business’ event held in Sydney, hosted by the ABA and Business NSW, that was attended by business representatives from across the region. 

“This research shows banks are fuelling credit to the lifeblood of Australia’s economy, our SMEs,” ABA CEO, Anna Bligh, said. “Banks also understand many customers are doing it tough battling a quick succession of interest rate rises, inflation and associated cost of living challenges.” 

In conjunction with the report’s release, the ABA launched a new Financial Assistance Hub designed to provide information and assistance to small businesses and other customers in understanding what banks can do to help those experiencing financial difficulty.

Originally launched to assist businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hub was recently updated and revised to ensure it is useful, easy to comprehend and relevant to those needing financial assistance.

“We know that access to capital is critical for small businesses particularly with a perfect storm of costs across the board,” Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) CEO, Luke Achterstraat, said. “While there is more work to be done, these latest figures indicate a significant uplift in SME lending which is a positive sign.”

Bligh said that banks also recognise the need for a sustainable financial counselling model to help customers with advice and support about their finances. 

“Financial counsellors get people back on track when they are experiencing the most difficult moments in their lives,” Bligh said. “Banks stand ready to support the Government’s voluntary financial counselling scheme, committing $6.15 million in the first year, starting in January 2024.”