Things are starting to look better for small business owners across the country with just 5% of deferred business loans yet to resume repayments. Meanwhile, there are signs that business credit demand is improving, especially when it comes to asset finance.

The first bit of data comes from the Australian Banking Association (ABA), which shows just 11,263 business loans across the country are yet to resume repayments.

That’s a huge drop from the height of the pandemic back in June when more than 200,000 small business loans were deferred.

With automatic loan deferrals now coming to an end, the next phase of support for borrowers who are unable to make reduced repayments or restructure their loans will involve assistance from specialised hardship teams.

As part of this support, banks have developed an industry-wide, consistent approach to hardship and a new online assistant hub to guide customers in financial hardship and improve transparency.

“Customers can expect a thoughtful and compassionate approach, with clear and transparent explanations, regardless of who they bank with,” says ABA CEO Anna Bligh.

Credit demand improving

The other positive news for business confidence around the nation is that credit demand is showing signs of recovery, especially when it comes to asset finance.

Equifax’s Quarterly Business Credit Demand Index for the December 2020 quarter shows that while business loan applications were down 10.1% from the year before, the rate of decline has softened.

Applications in Victoria were up 7% in December 2020 compared to the September quarter, closely followed by Queensland and Western Australia (+5%).

Better yet, asset finance applications were actually 0.2% higher than the same period a year earlier.

“While overall business credit demand remains down, it is encouraging to see that there are signs of a turnaround,” says Equifax’s General Manager Commercial and Property Services Scott Mason.

“The lifting of extended restrictions in Victoria has allowed for a rebound in business credit applications driven by asset finance.”

How’s 2021 looking for your business?

If you’re starting to feel confident about your business’s outlook in 2021, and you want to explore your finance options to make the most of any upcoming opportunities, then please get in touch with an Allied Broker.

It’s also worth mentioning that the federal government’s ‘temporary full expensing’ scheme – which allows businesses to immediately deduct the business portion of the cost of eligible new depreciating assets – is in place until 30 June 2022.

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