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Bank fees cripple small firms

FEES levied by banks appears to be the greatest small business banking concern according to Small Business Development Corporation managing director George Etrelezis.

Mr Etrelezis said a recent SBDC survey revealed 47 per cent of small business operators viewed the quality of service offered by banks with regards to level of fees as inadequate.

“Surprisingly, only 16 per cent of respondents indicated that service levels in relation to access to sufficient finance were inadequate,” Mr Etrelezis said.

“In terms of ease of access to services, 21 per cent of respondents felt banks were inadequate while 49 per cent said it was fair.”

Across industry sectors, it seemed firms in the personal, cultural and recreational services industry had the least favourable perceptions about lending institutions’ ability to ‘understand their business’.

“Just over 30 per cent felt that this understanding was inadequate, 46 per cent said it was fair and 19 per cent viewed it to be good,” Mr Etrelezis said.

“While the majority of customers fall into the ‘fair’ to ‘good’ response, this still means one in three respondents view banks as not understanding their business adequately.

“The onus is on the banks to get out to SME premises and see how they are performing.

“Most importantly, banks need to be conscious of their fees – small business can only afford so much.

“Increased competition gives better options for changing banks but many SMEs cannot afford the fees a mid-year transition imposes,” he said.

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