NAB's loans without guarantees driving growth, says exec
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NAB's loans without guarantees driving growth, says exec

Almost half the small firms accessing finance through National Australia Bank's unsecured lending product have shown double digit growth in their turnover in the next six months, says the bank's executive general manager business direct and small business Leigh O'Neill

NAB has targetted unsecured lending aggressively through its QuickBiz product in a market where it is competing with fintech companies such as Prospa, OnDeck and Moula.

NAB executive Leigh O'Neill.

NAB executive Leigh O'Neill.

Prospa last week pulled its planned Australian Securities Exchange float in the wake of discussions with the corporate regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), over the terms of its contracts.

Ms O'Neill said the performance of its unsecured lending clients showed the important role the product could play.

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“Six months after a QuickBiz loan application, just under half of our customers grew their business turnover by greater than 10 per cent," she said.

“Over $3 billion of credit approvals in the 2017 financial year were unsecured and lent to Australian small to medium business- there is plenty of opportunity for customers in this lending segment."

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The use of guarantees, such as equity in homes, to underpin small business loans has been a topic of focus for the ongoing banking royal commission.

“There is often a perception that access to credit is difficult without a property or other major asset to secure against," Ms O'Neill said.

"While we’ll always uphold our responsible lending obligations, we are increasingly placing more emphasis on the strength of the business rather than traditional physical bricks and mortar, at a fair and competitive price."

Ms O'Neill said the bank had also responded to concerns from the Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman to improve the terms and simplicity of its loan agreements.

Mathew Dunckley is business editor for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Based in our Melbourne newsroom, Mathew has almost 20 years as a journalist and editor.