Capital finance provider Scottish Pacific commissioned a survey of 1,257 owners and senior managers of Australian SMEs, across the spectrum of industries, and found that 22.2 per cent have already found it more difficult to access finance because of the royal commission and its fallout.
A further 33.7 per cent expect that funding access will become more difficult.
None of the respondents found that the royal commission and its findings have so far improved their access to finance.
Of the remaining respondents, 31.7 per cent said they have not tried accessing finance since the royal commission began early last year, while 12.3 per cent said it had made no difference either way.
A spokesperson for Scottish Pacific confirmed to My Business that the figures, which add up to 99.9 per cent, are a result of rounding to the nearest decimal point.
According to the lender’s CEO, Peter Langham, most business leaders seek finance for growth, rather than maintaining the status quo.
“So, the easier it is for SMEs to get funds, the stronger the Australian economy will grow,” he said.
“Given recent economic forecasts, all the more reason that governments and the business community must prioritise making it easier, not more difficult, for SMEs to access funds.”
Mr Langham also weighed in on the debate about broker commissions, in light of the survey findings, and urged the government to reconsider a shift to a user-pays funding model.
“Good brokers play a vital role by helping time-poor business owners find the right product and provider that best suits their needs, allowing the business and the economy to grow,” he said.
“This is also a key reason why the federal government should reconsider the broker fee changes recommended by the royal commission.”
The poll was conducted between November 2018 and January 2019, before Commissioner Kenneth Hayne’s final report was officially given to federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on 1 February 2019. It was released publicly three days later.
The royal commission’s final report contained few recommendations specifically pertaining to SME lending, which COSBOA chief Peter Strong said would hopefully spur lenders to turn the funding taps back on for small businesses.