Equifax Quarterly Business Credit Demand Index: Sept 2021

  • Overall business credit applications grew by +13.7% (vs Sept quarter 2020)
  • Business loan applications increased by +22.0% (vs Sept quarter 2020)
  • Trade credit applications flat +0.8% (vs Sept quarter 2020)
  • Asset finance applications rose by +8.5% (vs Sept quarter 2020).

SYDNEY – 21 October 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.  

The prospect of a bounce-back once NSW and Victoria ease their lockdown restrictions is supported by indicators from the latest Equifax Quarterly Business Credit Demand Index (Sept 2021). 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 index measures the volume of credit applications for trade credit, business loans and asset finance.

Scott Mason, General Manager Commercial and Property Services, Equifax, said: “There’s no doubt that the lockdowns of this last quarter have hurt business credit demand, but the impact is less than we saw during last year’s lockdown. It seems we’re all getting better at coping with lockdowns, which might help to hasten our economic recovery once businesses fully reopen.”

Overall business credit applications were up +13.7% in the September 2021 quarter compared to the same quarter in 2020. This uptick was driven by the strong performance of business loan applications, which rose by +22.0% compared to Q3 2020 and by +7.0% compared to Q3 2019 pre-COVID. In the construction sector, demand for business loans was higher than it has been for two consecutive years (Q3 2019 and 2020).

“Equifax data shows that it’s small businesses of less than 20 employees that are particularly active in applying for business loans”, said Mason. 

“We’ve also noticed a trend for businesses to turn to non-bank lenders for funding. This could indicate these smaller lenders are less risk-averse, or that their business loan products and turnaround times are advantageous.”

Asset finance applications rose by +8.5% in the September 2021 quarter compared to the same period in 2020, but this was not uniform across Australia. The states that stayed out of lockdown showed increases in asset finance enquiries, compared to significant drops in the states in lockdown. In NSW, for example, applications dropped by -9.0% in Q3 2021 compared to the previous year. Compared to the last quarter (Q2 2021), when there was no lockdown, enquiries dropped by as much as -35.0%.

Encouragingly, asset finance enquiries have already risen by +25.1% in NSW during the first four days out of lockdown. This may indicate that this credit category will turnaround in the locked-down states once dealerships open and the demand for equipment, machinery and vehicles normalises.  

Trade credit demand, by comparison, was relatively flat (+0.8%) compared with the same period last year. It was also down (-6.0%) when compared to the pre-COVID quarter, Q3 2019.

Business credit demand September 2021 vs. September 2020:

Business credit applications rose across Australia (+13.7%) with the exception of NT (-14.0%)*. Applications were up in VIC (+29.0%), QLD (+16.0%), SA (+9.0%), TAS (+9.0%), WA (+8.0%), NSW (+5.0%) and ACT (+5.0%)

Business loan applications rebounded strongly across all states (+22.0%). Victoria led the recovery (+35.0%), followed by QLD (+25.0%), NSW (+18.0%), SA (+16.0%), ACT (+15.0%), TAS (+9.0%) and WA (+8.0%) but dropped in the NT (-28.0%)*.

Trade credit applications were flat (+0.8%). Positive demand was seen in WA (+9.0%), QLD (+6.0%), VIC (+3.0%) and TAS (+3.0%) but applications were down in ACT (-9.0%), NSW (-6.0%), SA (-3.0%) and NT (-3.0%)*.

Asset finance applications were highly impacted by the effect of COVID lockdowns (+8.5%). While applications were up in VIC (+40.0%) compared to the previous year, they were down -30.0% compared to the previous quarter. They were also down in NSW (-9.0%) and ACT (-5.0%). By comparison, applications were up in the states not experiencing long lockdowns: NT (+20.0%)*, TAS (+14.0%), QLD (+10.0%), SA (+8.0%) and WA (+8.0%). 

*Low volumes


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


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


IMAGE 3: Business Loan Applications State Overview, 2021 Q3


IMAGE 4: Business Loan Applications Industry Overview, 2021 Q3 


IMAGE 5: Asset Finance Applications State Overview, 2021 Q3


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, employees, 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 11,000 employees worldwide, Equifax operates or has investments in 25 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 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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