Data and digitisation: the best friend of businesses seeking certainty

Companies seeking finance to operate or expand their businesses have not always been able to get a quick answer from lenders on whether they’ll get support for their funding. Historically the wheels may have turned slowly relative to the urgency of the business need with several steps standing between the customer and their funding.

Click image to zoom Tap image to zoom

Fortunately that is becoming less of an issue for many Australian businesses as ANZ and other banks adopt increasingly sophisticated data and analytics tools to help speed up the lending process.

"These tools … essentially frees (a business banker) up from time-intensive document and process management so that they can spend more time adding value for customers.”

Increasing digitisation and new methods of automation now mean many ANZ business customers can receive an answer in just days. This helps save the business time and money and provides them with greater certainty which has become an increasingly invaluable commodity during a pandemic.

One example of such progress is ANZ GoBiz, our online unsecured lending portal which launched earlier this year. GoBiz can provide conditional approval to customers in minutes with funding delivered within days - a process which could have taken up to 30 days in the past. The launch in May was perfectly timed to help with the emerging rebound in small business.

Click image to zoom Tap image to zoom

By allowing ANZ to receive a customer’s financial information via a one-time connection to their accounting software platform, GoBiz helps our customers deliver a rapid snapshot of the business’ position. It works with all the major accounting software packages - Xero, MYOB and QuickBooks – which cover about 70 per cent of all small businesses in Australia.

That near-instantaneous transfer also gives the most up-to-date information, rather than capturing the performance of the previous financial year. And in many cases it prevents the need for customers to spend precious time and resources asking their accountants or financial advisers to prepare detailed accounts for the most recent fiscal period.

The new platform has already helped many customers - including Nikki Palun, owner of Octtava Wines, who was looking for finance to expand her business and build a new wine bar that would bring food, music and wine to the inner-city suburb of Port Melbourne.

Despite not being an ANZ customer, Nikki found the application process via GoBiz at the local ANZ branch quick and easy: “From the first meeting, I couldn’t believe the efficiency and speed of the whole application process. I applied on a Friday, had all my forms submitted by Monday and approval from the credit team on the Tuesday,” she says.

“The whole loan application was online with everything uploaded straight from Xero. By eliminating all that tedious form-filling, I reckon I saved myself a good couple of days of admin.”

The eligibility for GoBiz will expand this year as customers with more complex needs and more industries are added and as we start to refine our credit decisions based on the information customers provide.

SME Recovery Loan Scheme and more

Earlier this month GoBiz was updated to enable customers to take advantage of the Federal Government’s revised version of its SME Recovery Loan Scheme – the criteria of which was recently broadened to make many more businesses eligible to make a claim.

The digital nature of GoBiz means this type of variation can be easily added to the process without the need for a significant system overhaul.

We are also launching another product called “Share My Business Financials” which will help speed business loan applications that come through our traditional network, rather than the online portal.

Like GoBiz it allows customers to consent to providing up to two years of financial data from their accounting software platform, data which can be delivered to the bank in minutes. The new tool will build on the capability of GoBiz to use data and automation to provide a rapid decision – a quick yes or in some cases a quick no, which can be almost as helpful.

Early indications are this is proving very helpful to customers and it also has benefits for our bankers as the information comes in a consistent and standardised form rather than the format the customer delivers them. This saves times and resources in converting that information into the correct format.

Both these tools show just how the role of a traditional business banker is evolving as these programs are integrated into our processes. It essentially frees them up from time-intensive document and process management so that they can spend more time adding value for customers. 

Paul Presland is General Manager of Small Business Banking at ANZ


The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

editor's picks

16 Sep 2021

Businesses seeking to make up for lost time

Isaac Rankin | Managing Director Commercial and Private Banking, ANZ

Changes to eligibility in the Federal Government’s SME recovery loan scheme could help kickstart Australia’s economic recovery

05 Oct 2021

Elliott: businesses prepared for re-opening but remain cautious

Shayne Elliott | Chief Executive Officer, ANZ

ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott says businesses have managed their cashflow and savings incredibly well through the pandemic. But uncertainty will remain for a bit longer.