The challenges and opportunities facing small and medium businesses in Australia today were the focus of discussions at a Roundtable hosted by the Reserve Bank of Australia.
The event was a rare chance for everyday small-and medium-businesses operators to talk directly to the top levels of banks, including ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott, to ASIC, to APRA and to the Treasury.
The Australian Banking Association, along with the Australian Council of Small business, representatives for member Banks and other stakeholders were also in attendance to bring their own perspective on the issues and to answer questions. The event was agreed to and organised at the end of last year.
Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh said that the small business banking Roundtable was an important opportunity for Australia’s banks to listen first hand to the needs of small business.
“Small business is the engine room of the Australian economy, accounting for more than 40 per cent of all jobs or around 4.7 million people,” Ms Bligh said. “This Roundtable was an important step in building the relationship between banks, small businesses and their representatives.
“Banks are working hard to better understand the needs of business, their challenges and how they can work with them to help them achieve their goals.”
Key points of discussion highlighted by the small businesses present were:
access to finance for start-ups and business expansion
ease of comparison and switching between products and lenders
secured lending and the role of housing and personal guarantees