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Westpac seeks SME dominance

Staff Reporter 1 minute read

Westpac has outlined plans to capitalise on the funding gap in the small-to-medium sized business market and intends to become the nation’s biggest SME lender.

Peter Hanlon, the bank’s retail and business banking boss, said the bank’s loans to SMEs were expanding strongly as a result of the gap left by smaller players and foreign banks, which have been squeezed out of the market as a result of the credit crisis.

“It’s a big hole in the market of 20 to 30 per cent,” he said, The Australian reported today.

“Do we want to become number one? In a word, yes.”

Mr Hanlon said the SME market would present strong opportunities once economic conditions started to improve because of their better ability to recover from economic slowdowns than larger corporations.

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“The companies [SMEs] tend to be more nimble and the people running them are more entrepreneurial.

“It’s definitely a big opportunity at the moment, one of Westpac’s top three priorities, because at some point the economy will turn and start picking up.”

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