A new report has found the share of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in Australia planning to borrow from non-bank lenders has doubled in the past four years to 31%, an acceleration rate of 8% a year. That figure now exceeds SMEs’ preference for bank borrowing, which declined by 4% year on year to 28%.

The findings come from the latest round of the SME Growth Index compiled by ScotPac, Australia’s leading non-bank business lender.

The report, which incorporates feedback from more than 700 SME leaders, also found that frustration with bank onboarding processes and approval times were key factors driving non-bank lending for SMEs of all sizes.

Respondents said non-bank lenders were generally twice as fast at approving loans than banks, with average bank loan approvals stretching to 35 days, and in some cases, beyond 55 days.

Other key findings about SME borrowing intentions include:

  • 55% of SMEs are planning to invest in their business in the next six months
  • 41% of SMEs will seek new funding options in 2022, on average applying for $753,000 in findings. The average forecast loan size for large SMEs ($5m-$20m revenue) is a tick over $1 million, compared to $398,000 small SMEs ($1m-$5m).
  • 2% of SMEs are unsure how they will ultimately fund new business investment.


ScotPac CEO, Jon Sutton, said the findings showed that SMEs are more prepared than ever to search for funding solutions that are the right fit for their business.

’It is really pleasing in the current economic climate that more than half of the SMEs we spoke to indicated they have the confidence to invest in their businesses in the next six months,’ Mr Sutton said.

‘The feedback from SMEs is clear – excessive documentation and drawn out approval times are pain points that add to the time and stress of running a business.

‘They want hassle-free financing, personalised service and fast and responsive turnarounds to match their cash flow needs. That is what ScotPac delivers.’

Sanikleen uses Invoice finance to fuel fivefold growth in five years

Shortly after buying Victorian based commercial food hygiene business Sanikleen Group in 2017, its new owners made a strategic acquisition in Queensland with the aid of a ScotPac invoice finance facility.

A string of new contracts followed, including one of the largest smallgood production facilities in the southern hemisphere, and several other major beef and poultry processors.

Five years on and with ScotPac still in its corner, Sanikleen has increased both revenue and headcount by around 500 per cent. Today it employs around 1,200 people and is a global leader in the use of advanced biotechnology to clean large-scale food processing facilities like abattoirs and smallgoods.

Daniel Crozier and Jacob Bush, Managing Director, and Chief Financial Officer at Sanikleen, said there is no substitute for the immediate access to working capital that comes with invoice finance.

‘The cash flow that ScotPac’s invoice financing provided allowed us to take on new contracts when opportunities arose, rather than having to wait months for capital to be available,’ Mr Bush said. ‘It just removes those cash flow concerns.’

‘Our growth would have been much slower without ScotPac, because if we used internal funds we would have had to pause or sacrifice other parts of the business.

‘As long you are budgeting your jobs correctly and running them efficiently, invoice financing can help you scale infinitely.’

Jacob said the main reason Sanikleen chose to partner with ScotPac was the confidence they had that the finance would be available when they needed it.

‘We had a very tight window, and the banks didn’t fill us with confidence that they could deliver on time. ScotPac gave us the assurance they could get the job done, and they did. That was the most important thing for us.’

In addition to invoice finance, Sanikleen also has an asset finance facility with ScotPac to keep pace with its need to reinvest in fleet vehicles to meet its growing service demands.


ScotPac finance solutions

ScotPac has been providing small and medium businesses with finance solutions for almost 35 years. Our Invoice Finance facilities help businesses leverage their outstanding sales invoices to fund growth and overcome cash flow shortages, while our trade and asset finance facilities support businesses looking to take advantage of international markets or invest in plant and equipment.

Finance applications for some ScotPac products can take as little as 10 minutes to complete, and in some cases loans can be approved in 24 hours.

ScotPac has a number of handy guides for small businesses and advisors that are packed with information about our products, including the Business Funding Guide and Fits ME, Essential Guide to Business Funding.

ScotPac’s bi-annual SME Growth Index is Australia’s longest running research report on small business sentiment towards growth prospects.


ScotPac is Australia and New Zealand’s largest non-bank SME business lender, providing funding to small, medium and large businesses from start-ups to enterprises exceeding $1 billion revenues. For more than 30 years ScotPac has helped thousands of business owners succeed, offering fast and flexible funding. From simple to complex, small to large, start up, growth or turnaround – ScotPac can help with a range of funding from Invoice, Trade or Asset Finance to Home Loans and Business Loans.


For more information contact:

Todd Hayward
Mob: 0412 205 151
[email protected]

Martin Cole
Mob: 0403 332 977
[email protected]