Equifax Quarterly Business Credit Demand Index: Dec 2021

  • Overall business credit applications grew by +9.7% (vs Dec quarter 2020)
  • Business loan applications increased by +19.6% (vs Dec quarter 2020)
  • Trade credit applications grew slightly +3.3% (vs Dec quarter 2020)
  • Asset finance applications decreased by -3.5% (vs Dec quarter 2020).

SYDNEY – 15 February 2022 – Business credit demand bounced back from Delta lockdowns in Q4 2021, with business loan applications driving a third straight quarter of growth. Despite the overall upward trend, however, the pace of growth has eased in recent months, and the spike in Omicron cases has cast a shadow on the prospect of continued commercial credit growth into Q1 2022. 

Released today by Equifax, the global data, analytics and technology company and the leading provider of credit information and analysis in Australia and New Zealand, the Equifax Quarterly Business Credit Demand Index (Dec 2021) measures the volume of credit applications for trade credit, business loans and asset finance.

Scott Mason, General Manager Commercial and Property Services, Equifax, said: “It’s encouraging to see business credit demand trending upwards over the past three quarters, but we can’t consider ourselves out of the woods yet. The impacts from the Omicron variant were minimised due to seasonal low demand in December, but are likely to be seen in Q1 of this year. Already in the first two weeks of January, Commercial enquiries have fallen sharply, although the severity of the drop seems roughly inline with seasonal expectations”

Overall business credit applications were up +9.7% in the December 2021 quarter compared to the same quarter in 2020. This rise was driven in large part by business loan applications, which rose by +19.6% compared to Q4 2020, and by +12.0% compared to the same quarter in 2019, pre-COVID. Demand for business loans in the accommodation and food services sector saw a significant uptick, up +33.0% on Q4 2020, and +11.00% on the same quarter in 2019. The retail trade sector also saw a rise in demand for business loans, up +18.0% on Q4 2020. 

“The rise in business loan demand in the food service, accommodation and retail sectors suggests that, after two challenging years, business owners are looking to re-enter these industries or revitalise existing businesses. While this is a positive sign, the impacts of the Omicron spike, including staff shortages and consumers’ self-imposed lockdown behaviours, may have a negative influence on the recovery of the hospitality and retail sectors,” said Mason. 

Asset finance applications decreased by -3.5% in the December 2021 quarter compared to the same period in 2020, possibly due to the impact of supply chain pressures on the availability of equipment, machinery and vehicles.

Despite the overall drop, asset finance demand in NSW (-2.0% vs Q4 2020) and Victoria (0.0% vs Q4 2020) was largely in line with previous years, despite being impacted by lockdowns in Q3 2020. This represents a marked improvement from the previous quarter, when asset finance demand decreased -22.0% in NSW and -8.0% in Victoria year-on-year.

Trade credit demand grew slightly in Q4 2021, up +3.3% on the previous year. Despite this small uplift, it remained subdued (-2.2%) when compared to the pre-COVID quarter, Q4 2019.

Insolvencies continued to climb in Q4 2021, up +8.0% on the previous quarter and +13.0% higher than Q4 2020. The construction industry was a key driver, with insolvencies in this sector increasing by +29.0% year-on-year. 

Business credit demand December 2021 vs. December 2020:

Business credit applications rose across Australia (+9.7%) with the exception of WA (-1.0%) and NT (-1.0%)* which remained relatively flat. Applications were up in VIC (+14.0%), QLD (+11.0%), NSW (+10.0%), ACT (+10%), SA (+9.0%) and TAS (+6.0%).

Business loan applications continued to rebound strongly across all states (+19.6%). Victoria (+25.0%) and Queensland (+25.0%) led the recovery, followed by NSW (+18.0%), ACT (+21.0%), SA (+19.0%), TAS (+7.0%). WA (+2.0%) and NT (+2.0%)* remained relatively flat.

Trade credit applications grew slightly (+3.3%). Positive demand was seen in SA (+9.0%), ACT (+7.0%), NSW (+5.0%), WA (+5.0%), VIC (+2.0%), QLD (+1.0%) and TAS (+1.0%) while the NT  (0.0%)* was flat.

Asset finance applications were largely in line with previous years (-3.5%). While applications were up in TAS (+8.0%) and flat in VIC (0.0%) compared to the previous year, the other states were down WA (-10.0%), NT (-9.0%)*, QLD (-7%), SA (-7.0%), ACT (-7.0%) and NSW (-2.0%).

*Low volumes

IMAGE 1: Equifax Commercial Credit Demand Index – December 2021 Quarter

IMAGE 2: Equifax Commercial Credit Demand Index by categories of credit – December 2021 Quarter

IMAGE 3: Business Loan Applications State Overview, 2021 Q4

IMAGE 4: Business Loan Applications Industry Overview, 2021 Q4

IMAGE 5: Asset Finance Applications State Overview, 2021 Q4



At Equifax (NYSE: EFX), we believe knowledge drives progress. As a global data, analytics, and technology company, we play an essential role in the global economy by helping financial institutions, companies, employers, and government agencies make critical decisions with greater confidence. Our unique blend of differentiated data, analytics, and cloud technology drives insights to power decisions to move people forward. Headquartered in Atlanta and supported by more than 13,000 employees worldwide, Equifax operates or has investments in 24 countries in North America, Central and South America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific region. For more information, visit www.equifax.com.au or follow the company’s news on LinkedIn.




The Quarterly Business Credit Demand Index by Equifax measures the volume of credit applications that go through the Equifax Commercial Bureau by financial services credit providers in Australia. Based on this, it is a good measure of intentions to acquire credit by businesses. This differs from other market measures published by the RBA/ABS, which measure new and cumulative dollar amounts that are actually approved by financial institutions.


Purpose of Equifax media releases:

The information in this release does not constitute legal, accounting or other professional financial advice. The information may change, and Equifax does not guarantee its currency or accuracy. To the extent permitted by law, Equifax specifically excludes all liability or responsibility for any loss or damage arising out of reliance on information in this release and the data in this report, including any consequential or indirect loss, loss of profit, loss of revenue or loss of business opportunity. 


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