Commonwealth Bank is delivering on its commitment to be better for small business, introducing more than 120 new roles dedicated to supporting small business customers, removing more business banking fees, and providing quicker access to business funding.
Clive van Horen, Executive General Manager of Business Customer Solutions at CBA, said the changes were all based directly on customer feedback and needs.
“Our small business customers have wanted more from us and we’ve been working hard to make the improvements they’ve asked for – like faster access to cash flow, more specialist bankers, and less fees,” Mr van Horen said.
“Small businesses are often the first to feel the pinch from shifts in the broader economy. As Australia’s largest bank, it is imperative we listen to these businesses, back them, and try to make it easier for them to innovate, invest and grow.”
The changes build on the commitment CBA made to small business customers in February – to lend even more, remove more fees, and increase its small business support teams.
“We’re delivering on our commitment with the introduction of more than 120 new small business banker roles to better support specific customer needs, including more business bankers in our Australian phone based business centres, and Business Banking Managers in branches in key geographic areas,” Mr van Horen said.
The bank has also rolled out BizExpress, a business lending application offering small businesses a faster lending decision, and faster funding for loans up to $1 million.
“The nature of small businesses is such that they require quick access to funding, whether it’s to capitalise on opportunities, cover debts or cash flow, or purchase equipment. BizExpress can provide our eligible small business customers with a lending decision in minutes, enabling faster access to the funds they need to keep them growing,” Mr van Horen said.
“We fully acknowledge there is concern in the small business community that it is getting harder to access credit. We currently lend more than $500 million to Australian businesses every week and have the capacity and appetite to do much more.”
Customers are already seeing the benefits of the changes – like Melanie Villani from Victorian clothing retailer Evergreen Clothing, who recently received a funding decision on a $80,000 better business loan within four hours of applying. Ms Villani needed the funds to build a new warehouse in order to accommodate an increase in online orders.
“I started Evergreen Clothing in 2014 as a fashion retailer here on the Mornington Peninsula. Over the last two years, we’ve seen a marked spike in our online business and clearly needed a bigger space to accommodate this growth. We wanted to make sure we could get orders out as quickly as possible to our customers who are spread right across Australia,” Ms Villani said.
“I’ve been a CBA customer for a long time and this is definitely the fastest loan decision I’ve ever had – it was sorted over the phone and I got a clear answer and decision all within a few hours.”
CBA has also been removing more business banking fees that customers find frustrating. In August, the bank removed all electronic transaction fees from Commonwealth Bank business accounts, and at the beginning of November, the bank introduced a more flexible Business Transaction Account, with a price option that has zero monthly account fees for customers who prefer to bank online. More than 93,000 existing CBA business customers have made the switch to the zero monthly account fee option, and over 27,000 new accounts have been opened.
“This change to our Business Transaction Account addresses the number one complaint we received from our business customers – the monthly account fee. We’ve already seen tens of thousands of customers make the switch, and collectively they will save millions of dollars as a result of the changes,” Mr van Horen said.
Our improvements for small business include:
- New small business roles across the country: We’re growing our small business banking team with more than 120 new business banker roles. This includes more business bankers nationally in our Australian phone based business centres, as well as Business Banking Managers in branches in key geographic regions. We also have specialists (like our small business home loan specialists) ready to help, so customers are connected with the right support, at the right time, in the right place.
- Dedicated business case managers: We’re providing small businesses with dedicated bankers for when they have more complex enquiries, meaning many more customers will have a single point of contact that will manage and handle their matter until it’s resolved, with regular updates so customers know what’s being done to help them.
- Launching BizExpress: We’re making small business lending simpler and faster by launching BizExpress, offering same day business lending decisions to help Australian businesses to act quickly and confidently. BizExpress has now been expanded so eligible small business customers can get a same-day decision on unsecured loans up to $250,000 and secured loans up to $1 million.
- More flexible fees: We’re continuing to remove fees that our business customers find frustrating. We’ve also created more flexible fee options for our Business Transaction Account, to suit the way our customers bank, and introduced smart alerts for the Business Transaction Account to help customers avoid overdraw fees.
- 24/7 specialist support: We are uplifting the capability and capacity of our 24/7 Australian based contact centre so that there are more specialists available to help customers when they need it.
- Protecting businesses: We have a dedicated merchant fraud team which monitors over 5 million transactions every day, helping to better protect Australian businesses.
- Supporting small businesses impacted by bushfires: We have a range of emergency assistance measures available to support our customers, including loan restructuring, waiving selected fees and charges and access to emergency cash grants.