Signs of Recovery as NSW Opens and Business Credit Demand Lifts
21st Oct 2021

The recovery in business credit demand eased in Q3 2021, but recovery may be imminent as states make their way out of lockdown. Data from the first four days of NSW reopening after 15-weeks in lockdown shows a jump in demand across all categories of credit. Asset finance enquiries rose by +25.1%, trade credit by +15.5% and business loans by +2.5% in the week of 11-14 October compared to the previous week in lockdown.

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The escalation of credit issues under COVID-19 has introduced a new challenge to the hardship strategy of lenders. With a significant increase in the number of accounts requiring financial assistance, the ability to assist customers to better financial health has come under strain. Managing a large volume of customers – each with a different circumstance – lenders must find a way to ensure customers who need the most support are the ones to receive it.

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As lenders attempt to navigate through this period of enormous market uncertainty, Equifax will provide a series of regular analysis. Presenting a clear picture of the future for credit markets is challenging in the short term, we hope to provide some clarity on what trends are developing, what challenges are foreseeable, how you can assess the risks to your portfolios and make prudent changes to your risk management controls.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) has taken centre stage during COVID-19, supplementing the work of scientific and medical experts in fighting this pandemic. There are many global examples of AI technologies solving problems across all stages of this crisis. An Australian-developed AI diagnostic tool, for example, is helping hospital staff around the world accurately detect COVID-19 and assist in its containment. An AI-powered research database developed in the US is enabling scientists to discover coronavirus vaccine and treatment literature resources at unprecedented speed. In the UK, University of Cambridge researchers are using AI to analyse patient information in order to predict the risk of COVID-19 patients developing more severe disease and needing respirator support. 

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We can't get together in all our usual places during COVID-19, so Australians are getting their social fix online. Being home-bound has strengthened our engagement with all things digital, which was already on the up-and-up before this pandemic.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has deepened the already complicated relationship Australian consumers have with data.

While Australians tend to be highly conscious of their data privacy, there is less resistance to the idea that data can be used as an asset to be traded for value. This value might take the form of a personal benefit, like a price reduction, or a societal benefit, like improving public health. Indeed, data is playing a crucial public health role in Australia’s fight against COVID-19, such as informing people where virus clusters are emerging and helping with contact tracing of those affected by the virus.

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The COVID-19 outbreak is a stark reminder of how important it is to insulate against risk. If you’re a trade creditor, a financial institution or you hire equipment, registering on the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) is an effective way to boost your rights when faced with customer insolvency. That includes any business that supplies goods and services on credit terms, leases or hires goods, consigns goods to others or lends money.

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The number of Australians looking for work is staggering. Not since the recessions of the early 1980s and early 1990s have we seen parallels to this level of devastation to Australia’s workforce and economy. 

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Third-party cookies have long been a favourite for tracking consumer behaviour online, so it’s hardly surprising that marketers are left wondering what to do once they’re gone. With Google’s announcement that it will phase out third-party cookies on Chrome browsers by 2022, there’s little choice but to find new ways to target audiences for online campaigns.

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As lenders attempt to navigate through this period of enormous market uncertainty, Equifax will provide a series of regular analysis. While a clear picture of the future for credit markets is challenging in the short term, we hope to provide some clarity on what trends are developing, what challenges are foreseeable, how you can assess the risks to your portfolios and make prudent changes to your risk management controls.

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Opinion piece by Moses Samaha, Executive General Manager, 3 April 2020

The new vernacular of flattening the curve is not a term that anyone could have anticipated as being the most used phrase of 2020, but it is, so what does that mean for lending decisions and how is it impacting the Australian economy?

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