Both ANZ and CBA have launched new online lending platforms for business loans that claim to conditionally approve within 20 minutes.
Two big four banks have launched new online tools to enable SMEs to access finance more quickly.
ANZ has launched a new online lending platform to provide small businesses with conditional approval for up to $200,000 in unsecured lending.
Developed in partnership with DemystData, the new ANZ Online Business Lending platform can sync with accounting software platforms (ASPs) Xero, QuickBooks and MYOB in order to more quickly populate loan applications with historical financial information.
According to ANZ, the direct-to-customer platform enables it to provide a decision on conditional lending in less than 20 minutes, with full approval in approximately 48 hours.
Customers using ANZ’s online business lending application will have access to fixed and variable-term loans, as well as overdraft facilities, and will be able to apply for loans under the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme through the platform, too.
Mark Hand, ANZ’s group executive, Australia, for retail and commercial banking, commented: “While the current economic crisis will be devastating for some businesses, there has also been a great deal of resilience and some will be able to come out the other side even stronger. We’re also starting to see new businesses being created to meet emerging customer needs.
“This sophisticated new technology is deeply integrated with ANZ’s existing platforms to provide our customers with a quick, simple and secure lending experience so they can spend more time running and growing their business,” Mr Hand said.
Similarly, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has also launched a direct-to-customer business lending platform through Netbank and the CommBank app.
BizExpress Online, which was previously only available to CBA business bankers, will now be available to CBA’s existing SME customers (those with a turnover of less than or equal to $50 million) through these two channels.
In its initial phase, BizExpress Online will only offer new business loans under the government’s Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme. As such, the platform will enable users to access unsecured loans for a three-year period. Repayments will be deferred for the first six months and all fees waived for the life of the loan.
CBA has outlined that the platform will be extended to offer a broader set of products, including those outside of the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme, “over the coming months”.
According to CBA, the platform will be able to provide a real-time credit decision and could see loans of up to $50,000 credited to customers within 20 minutes.
Rates start from 4.5 per cent, the major bank said.
CBA group executive business banking, Mike Vacy-Lyle, commented: “When we launched BizExpress, the aim was to provide a simpler and faster lending experience for our small-business customers, with same-day decisions and funding within a week.
“We’ve continued to invest in our technology platforms – making further digital improvements to the lending application, and earlier this year we used BizExpress to quickly deliver lending support under the government’s Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme.
“Our latest investment in the new digital version makes it even easier and quicker for our customers to get the financial support they need,” he added, noting that it helps provide a lending decision in “record time”.
“Small businesses need quick access to cash flow to keep them going through these tougher times – and BizExpress Online aims to provide them with this,” Mr Vacy-Lyle said.
According to the bank, the BizExpress platform was used by CBA bankers to process approximately 80 per cent of CBA’s 8,000 applications for the government guarantee scheme. These SMEs secured approximately $700 million through this channel.
NAB launched a similar offering, QuickBiz, in 2017, making it available to the broker channel a few months later. Westpac also offers customers unsecured loans of up to $75,000 via its online banking platform for those with 12 months’ worth of statements.
The move by CBA and ANZ to launch digital SME lending platforms comes as more lenders embrace application programming interfaces (APIs) and audit service providers (ASPs) to hasten credit decisioning in business lending.
This week, accountancy software giant Xero revealed that it was set to break into SME lending by acquiring invoice finance platform Waddle, which leverages accounting data from Xero, MYOB and QuickBooks to offer lines of credit based on a business’ invoices.
The Sydney-based fintech also holds existing agreements with banks and lenders in Australia and the UK to help automate their invoice finance arrangements.
The acquisition aligns with Xero’s strategy to grow the small-business platform and to “address critical small-business financial needs”.
While the acquisition marks the first stage of Xero’s foray into SME lending, the cloud-based accounting software company has said that it will work with Waddle to “explore ways to expand [its] small-business customers’ access to forms of lending beyond invoice financing”.
Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.
As well as writing about the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts.
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