The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has committed to a series of decisions geared towards making small business lending and banking easier and more transparent.
On Monday (11 February), CBA announced a series of changes to benefit small businesses, including the removal of some business loan fees.
The first step in a series of changes, the loan fees that have been removed include:
- $30 for changing existing contract acceptance dates to align future instalment payments
- $30 for requesting additional copy of an existing contract already provided
- $30 for cancelling or modifying a direct debit for an existing contract
- $30 for requesting a copy of an amortisation schedule already provided
- $0.50 for each third-party payment within a transfer group made in excess of three per month
- $2.50 for each file import into Netbank from a file, such as MYOB
- $8.00 for a business plan: unlimited third-party payments
- $27.50 for each security token for secure access
- $55.00 for provision of NetlLock security USB
- $11.00 for provision of NetLock access per month
According to the major bank, other changes being brought in include providing “same-day decisions on simple business lending, removing business banking fees, better support for businesses facing financial hardship, and increasing the availability of small business specialists”.
CBA said that it aims to simplify SME banking by progressively removing banking fees that are “frustrating” to its customers, while supporting SME lending “even more” than last year, when it lent a reported $580 million every week to businesses across Australia.
Meanwhile, the establishment of a new financial assistance team will reportedly track financial difficulties and provide solutions to help borrowers “get back on track” if they experience financial difficulty, such as by reviewing repayments, the bank said.
“We will deepen the capabilities of our 24/7 Australian-based business banking contact centres and increase the availability of specialists for our customers to talk to,” the major bank announced.
Further, CBA announced the removal of default interest charges on agricultural business term loans for Australian farmers affected by drought and other natural disasters.
Matt Comyn, CEO of the Commonwealth Bank, commented: “Small businesses are the engine room of the Australian economy – when they thrive, we all thrive. So I’m delighted to announce a series of changes today to support our small business customers.
“We’re committing to support business lending even more, rolling out same-day decisions on simple business lending, removing more business banking fees, providing financial assistance when it counts and increasing the capacity and capability of our Australian-based business contact centres,” he said.
“While we’re making good progress, there is still more work to do. We are determined to restore respect and trust amongst our customers and communities. Our customers can expect us to continue listening, making changes and providing the best possible experiences, no matter how they bank with us.”
[Related: Open letter to CBA CEO Matt Comyn]