Banks Undergo Empathy Bypass Surgey

 In Daily Column

Carl Rogers, Nobel peace prize winner, humanist and pre-eminent psychotherapist of the twentieth century espoused three core conditions to relating to people and understanding the human condition: empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard.

Poor old Carl would have been absolutely at sea in Sydney on Monday at the Senate hearing on the access of small business to finance.

The big banks were under the spotlight. They were defending why interest rates were higher to small business  than to consumers.

Commonwealth Bank group executive of business and private Banking Ian Narev said the bank’s lending to small to medium sized businesses grew at 8.6 per cent between July 2008 and December 2009.

“There is a misconception that banks have stopped lending to small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs),” Mr Narev said.

On behalf of all SMEs, I’d like to say “Thanks, Ian!” Yes, there are more loans because small business is in trouble. That does not answer why interest rates are so much higher than for consumers.


Senate to ABA chief Steve Munchenberg:”Will there be more businesses falling over?” Response: ”Quite possibly…It’ll be a tough time for some businesses. But the majority of businesses will be better off.”

Except for the small businesses that have fallen over!

Westpac Bank chief product officer Jim Tate told the inquiry that seizing business owner’s security was a “not preferred” outcome.

Thanks Jim. But it still could be an outcome, just not one that would have your PR team running to press beating their chests with collective pride.

The whole show’s been light on alternatives. Here’s one. If you’ve got some robust accounts receivables, leverage off them for six months until interest rates settle. You don’t need security, which as Jim Tate reminds us he’d hate to take off you if you defaulted on a loan, but he would anyway.

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