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We need a healthy broker system to have a healthy financial system says ANZ’s Angelo Manos.
Which is why brokers, like any other small business, should put their hand out for assistance if needed during the pandemic.
MPA spoke with the general manager of commercial broker in lockdown about the ways ANZ is continuing to support small businesses during the second wave of COVID-19.
A financial partner for almost 200 years
As a Victorian, Manos is now experiencing the second lockdown of the pandemic. Despite this, he is full of hope for the future.
“ANZ has been a financial partner for Australians and Australian businesses for almost 200 years.”
“The last time we closed the Victorian and NSW border, from my reading, was during the Spanish flu 101 years ago.”
“We were a bank back then and we got through it, supporting both mums and dads and businesses.”
How ANZ is supporting SMEs
For customers experiencing the ongoing difficulties of COVID-19, he says ANZ is offering loan restructures and extended deferral periods.
“We’ve got a number of just over 100,000 customers that we’ve assisted, whether it be home, personal or small business, or various commercial accounts.”
He says, in addition to this, the lender has come up with bespoke arrangements with many of its customers who haven’t availed of a deferral package, including some of its larger commercial clients.
This follows on from some significant offers made a couple of months ago.
“In May this year we announced the extension of the maximum term of an ANZ business loan of under $1m, secured by a suitable commercial property, from 15 years to 30 years.”
“That’s created more cashflow for our small business customers.”
“It basically brings the term of our business loan secured by commercial property in line with what we do for residential home loans – which is a first for a major in the market.”
He says the bank has also brought in fixed rate specials for business customers borrowing $1m or less of 2.95% for two or three year fixed facilities, while also streamlining the secure lend process.
A vibrant broker community is essential
With the second wave sending Melbourne and parts of Victoria into lockdown, Manos says it is crucial brokers stay close to their business customers – particularly those who are impacted or vulnerable.
He says brokers shouldn’t hesitate to reach out for financial help if their business has been impacted throughout these troubled times.
“Brokers are out there helping their customers get through the current period and negotiating and getting in the right facilities with their banks and other providers, where they need to think about their businesses as well.”
“We need a strong, vibrant and viable broker community for that competition and to ensure that the system remains healthy.”
“If brokers’ underlying businesses are under stress, well, that takes them away from dealing with their customers and their customers’ issues at the most challenging time.”
He says staying close to BDMs and engaging in educational resources can help; the lender producing a range of webinars and other updates.
“There has been changes in products, processes – even simple things like getting things signed electronically versus wet signatures.”
“There’s a lot that we’re changing on the run to suit the underlying needs and requirements of the situation.”
Staying well in a turbulent environment
Aside from seeking financial support, brokers should also be mindful of their mental and physical wellbeing to ensure they remain on top of their game.
“It’s been a challenging time for all of us.”
“In Victoria, we’ve gone back into lockdown and it takes its toll mentally.”
In response to this, ANZ has extended its internal support service to its key providers and taken a line of over-communication in order to stay close to brokers and customers.
“You’ve got to stay mentally and physically up to the challenge because we’re not through it yet and it does take its toll.”
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