Aussie business groups slam power of big lenders
SYDNEY: Banks are under renewed pressure for squeezing business borrowers, with industry groups calling on government to level the playing field in favour of smaller lenders.
The Reserve Bank said credit extended to business has slumped by $71 billion from its 2008 peak during the global financial crisis. The chief executive of the Australian Industry Group, Heather Ridout, said in a submission that small and medium companies felt ''in the firing line'' from increasingly dominant banks that were imposing stricter lending conditions.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry echoed these concerns, saying the contraction in business credit growth was the most severe slump since the recession of the 1990s. To address these concerns, the business lobby groups are calling on the government to level the playing field in favour of the smaller lenders that once provided a check on the majors.
For example, Mrs Ridout said government guarantees on deposits should be more
''pro-competitive'', and hurdles to international lenders resurfacing should be removed.
The ACCI called for a ban on future mergers between the big four lenders, while asking the government to explore loan guarantees for small businesses.
The Urban Taskforce, representing property developers, said government should consider mandating the use of superannuation savings to expand the savings pool available for lending. - PB News