New SME lender receives banking licence 

Sydney-based Avenue Bank has been granted a banking licence as it looks to provide finance to businesses without using their homes as security. 

APRA made the announcement on 7 September. As a Restricted ADI (authorised deposit-taking institution), Avenue Bank will be conducting limited banking business with a select few customers and business partners, prior to an expected full public launch on receiving its full ADI licence next year. 

The company is building a digital business bank, focused on innovative cash flow solutions for Australian small and medium-sized enterprises. The Sydney-based bank plans to offer new ways for SMEs to unlock thousands of dollars from their balance sheets to help grow their businesses. 

Avenue Bank CEO George Confos said the receipt of its restricted banking licence was a major milestone for the business. 

“Avenue Bank will offer unique funding opportunities at a time when businesses are still suffering from the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Avenue Bank will inject some much-needed assistance into the traditionally underserviced SME banking sector, at a critical time,” he said.  

“Small business is the growth engine of the economy, and they need finance to grow. We are laser-focused on cutting-edge credit decisioning capabilities to get good businesses the funding they deserve, and quickly, without putting up their home as security.” 

Avenue was founded by entrepreneurs Colin Porter and Dale Hurley who previously founded CreditorWatch, a challenger credit reporting bureau. 

“We’ve created a credit assessment algorithm that we can industrialise. This is truly unique and proprietary to Avenue Bank and sits nicely with our CreditorWatch pedigree”, Mr Confos said.  

Avenue Bank recently closed a $37m Series B funding round. Key investors include Melbourne-based non-bank lender Liberty Financial Group. 

Avenue Bank has also bolstered its executive team with the addition of Steve Kinsella. Prior to joining Avenue, he held the roles of chief financial officer for Business and Private Banking, head of finance for Bankwest, and chief financial officer for the Institutional Division at CBA. He has also had significant overseas banking experience with senior finance roles at ABN AMRO. 

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