Kate Carnell calls for ‘less talk more action’ on small business banking

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Small businesses need a mechanism set up so they can resolve issues and disputes with banks quickly rather than a drawn out conversation says Kate Carnell, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO).

“Speaking from a small business perspective, the current political debate about the most effective ways to deal with community concerns regarding the banks, needs to acknowledge the importance of finding solutions to individual problems quickly and effectively,” said Carnell.

The ASBFEO has been extensively consulting with the small business sector in recent months, and bank-related complaints are certainly high on their list of grievances; so much so that in my view, without an increased level of accountability, some banking practices certainly have the capacity to stifle the growth potential of many small businesses in this country.

“More often than not, small businesses involved in disputes with their banks are hurting; they can ill-afford the time and money it takes to sort these kinds of problems out. They need help and support, and they need it now.”

“This isn’t an argument for or against a Royal Commission; this is about getting immediate outcomes for small businesses and finding a mechanism that delivers solutions in a timeframe that helps business owners get back on track as soon as possible.

“A Royal Commission may allow mum-and-dad small business owners to tell their story, but it won’t save their businesses. Royal Commissions typically go on for years, and by the time it produces its recommendations, businesses that are hurting now, will be long out the door.

“Whatever action the Government decides to take in dealing with concerns people have with the banks, my office stands ready to help small businesses who are experiencing bank-related problems; we can point them in the right direction and help assist them get on with what they’d rather be doing; running their small business and in doing so, making a significant contribution to the economy.”