Small business consumers

small businessIf you run a small business, the Code of Banking Practice offers you unique and important consumer protection, particularly in the area of small business loans and when your business is in financial difficulty.

The Code defines a small business as having:

  • less than 100 full time (or equivalent) people if the business is or includes the manufacture of goods, or
  • in any other case, less than 20 full time (or equivalent) people.

Banking services it covers include:

  • deposit and transaction accounts
  • personal and home loans
  • credit cards
  • debit cards
  • safe custody facilities
  • small business loans
  • investment loans, and
  • lease financing.

Protection for small business

Three clauses in the Code are particularly relevant for small business banking customers:

Clause 27 – provision of credit: before offering a credit contract, banks must act with the skill and care of a prudent banker when selecting and applying a credit assessment method and in forming their opinion about your ability to repay a credit facility.

This means that banks must consider the circumstances of your small business before offering or increasing a credit facility, ensuring that your business has the capacity to repay the facility.

Clause 28 – financial difficulty: banks must try to help their small business customers overcome financial difficulty in repaying a credit contract. For example, they could help to develop a revised repayment plan.

Clause 20 – changes to terms and conditions: banks must give a small business customer at least 10 days’ notice of changes to the terms and conditions of its credit facility, where that change concerns that small business only and will have an adverse effect.

Useful resources

Small business commissioners

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Commonwealth small business and family enterprise advocate and dispute resolution concierge.
Victorian Small Business Commissioner Provides quick, effective and low-cost dispute resolution services for business.
NSW Small Business Commissioner Serves as a neutral party in mediation and dispute resolution, and provides business advice and advisors.
Office of the Small Business Commissioner South Australia Provides dispute resolution services for small business operators.
Small Business Development Corporation (Western Australia) A State Government agency focused on the development of the small business sector.
Innovation, Trade and Investment (ACT) Offers business advisory, grant funding and trade and export programs.
Department of Business, Northern Territory Works with business to develop and broaden the Northern Territory’s economy.

 

Small business associations

Tasmanian Small Business Council The representative voice of small business in Tasmania.
The Council of Small Business Australia Australia’s peak body representing the interests of small businesses.

 

Find out more

Concerned a bank has breached its code obligations in providing services to you? Report your concern to the CCMC.

Download the Code of Banking Practice (PDF 6.68 MB)