Lender says small businesses aren't just surviving - they're thriving

"This time last year, we were very unsure about the future"

Lender says small businesses aren't just surviving - they're thriving

With the New Zealand economy rebounding quicker than anyone expected, lenders say that most businesses are now out of survival mode, and have their sights set on growth.

According to Prospa New Zealand GM Adrienne Church, the environment today is very different to this time last year, when the first COVID-19 cases hit New Zealand shores and uncertainty around the future was high. She said that for Prospa - a lender focused on helping businesses achieve growth - March and April 2020 were very quiet months, but the boom in business since then has been a testament of how quickly businesses have managed to get back on to their feet.

“This time last year, we were as unsure about the future and the environment as everyone else, but we also had very much reduced requests for the lockdown month,” Church commented.

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“When businesses were really down, they weren’t thinking about growth - they were just trying to survive. But we’ve definitely seen that change coming out of COVID, and there’s been a lot of talk around how quickly the New Zealand economy has reemerged. People are more confident now, and they are investing into their businesses and growing them.

“It’s really extraordinary to see how quickly the confidence is returning.”

Church says that advisers have been pivotal in helping clients manage the tough times, and she says their confidence with the non-bank sector has also grown - particularly with lenders who operate fully digital models.

“Advisers are definitely becoming more aware of non-banks in general, and we’ve got some really great relationships with our BDMs on the ground,” Church said.

“For advisers, their whole makeup has changed too - they’re not just mortgage or insurance brokers any more, they’re financial advisers. If they have a customer that they can help with multiple products, then they will, and their level of comfort with digital models like ours is growing too.”

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“We’ve been to a few conferences recently, and they all know who we are and they’re reaching out to us, because they recognise that they have an opportunity to help their clients,” she added.

“The adviser channel has certainly been a very important part of our growth, and will continue to be.

“We’re looking to support that small business ecosystem and to help it recover. People aren’t just talking about survival anymore - they want to prosper and grow.”