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CBA bolsters business banking strength

The major bank has announced that it is more than doubling the number of local business bankers in branches across Australia.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is expanding its business banking division in a bid to support small-business customers on their road to recovery amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A total of 180 new business bankers will be joining CBA by the end of June 2021, with 100 of these new bankers set to have joined by the end of this year, the major bank told Mortgage Business.

According to CBA, the nationwide expansion will seek to offer more “personalised” business support to help small-to-medium enterprises (SME) customers.

Commenting on the expansion, CBA group executive business banking Mike Vacy-Lyle said: “Access to a local business banker can make a world of difference to a small-business owner, particularly with many making difficult decisions as they navigate the flow-on impacts of the pandemic.”

“Small businesses provide stability and energy to the local communities they operate in, and we want to make sure we’re doing all we can to help them recover – this means more dedicated business support in branches, over the phone and through our digital channels.”

The role of the bankers will include providing support to its SME customers across a range of service and needs enquiries, and undertaking needs-based conversations with SME owners to understand their business and personal goals, and providing solutions that would assist them in meeting those goals.

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This would include being able to support with a range of business solutions, including commercial lending up to $1 million, asset finance, merchant facilities and everyday banking solutions.

The new bankers will join more than 2,500 business bankers and specialists across 240 metro and regional sites.

The announcement of the expansion has followed the move by National Australia Bank (NAB) to recruit 500 new employees as it looks to grow its business and private banking franchise and provide more support to Australian businesses through the COVID-19 crisis.

Earlier this year, CBA launched a direct-to-customer business lending platform through Netbank and the CommBank app.

BizExpress Online, which was previously only available to CBA business bankers, was made available to CBA’s existing SME customers (those with a turnover of less than or equal to $50 million) through these two channels.

In its initial phase, the platform only offered new business loans under the federal government’s Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme.

The platform services provide a same-day decision on unsecured loans up to $250,000 and secured loans up to $1 million, while offering eligible customers a real-time credit decision and access to funding up to $100,000 within 15 minutes, the bank said.

Thus far, CBA has approved more than $875 million in loans to 9,400 businesses through the first phase of the scheme and has now implemented the second phase on loans up to $1 million.

[Related: CBA commits more resources to SME lending]

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