Traditional lenders are overlooking around $20 billion worth of good business loans each month, one industry leader has said. Yet an even bigger problem is looming large.
David Jackson, founder and CEO of FundX, said the staggering figure demonstrates the significance of ensuring growing SMEs have access to finance to help the economy grow.
“FundX calculations applied to Reserve Bank data revealed that roughly $20 billion worth of good business loans are not being funded by traditional finance providers each month in Australia, resulting in enormous pent-up demand in this segment,” Mr Jackson said.
“We believe it also explains why we’ve been inundated with such overwhelming demand since launching version one of [our] website in October last year, and having now funded over $1.5 million in loans to SMEs to date.”
Alternative business finance providers have staged rapid growth in Australia in recent years as the fintech boom takes off. This growth has come from both domestic start-ups and overseas lenders expanding into the Australian marketplace.
Dermot Crean, director of invoice trading platform InvoiceX, told My Business that on a global scale, Australian SMEs have done it particularly tough in terms of access to capital.
“I’ve worked in London for 25 years of my life; there is availability of capital … it’s not as brilliant as what’s coming along [now], but there was capital. In Australia, there hasn’t been,” he said.
“The opportunity [for alternative financiers to meet the needs of SMEs] is actually bigger here than, say, in the UK, because the problem is more ingrained here.”
Another concern for Australian SMEs is receiving advice on how to manage capital.
“SMEs are the backbone of our economy, but nearly half will fail as a result of poor cash flow. Empowering SMEs to take control of their finances means more competition, innovation, productivity and growth for Australian businesses,” said Patrick Crivelli, founder of new finance platform Skippr.
“Skippr’s platform helps SMEs not just access finance, but understand how to better manage it. Our technology provides more transparency and, in turn, more efficiency to all stakeholders involved in the cash flow cycle. This results in better-informed business operators and stronger customer relationships.”
The Invoice Market’s CEO Angus Sedgwick, meanwhile, told My Business that his company regularly educates SME clients on how to safeguard existing capital and raise additional funds.
“They don’t know that they need to know this … we need to educate them about what they do need to know about PPSR, invoice documentation, about terms of trade and about supply agreements, purchase orders and the like,” he said.
“Smaller businesses are so desperate to sell something … that they just go, ‘Yep, that’s fine’ and jump into bed. But they should be [asking] for credit references from prospective clients.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.