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‘We are the leading business bank’: CBA continues push into SMB market

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The Commonwealth Bank has sharpened its attack on National Australia Bank’s title as the country’s leading business bank, launching a suite of new merchant products and declaring its services now lead the pack.

CBA’s general manager of merchant solutions Karen Last declared CBA was now Australia’s leading business bank, despite NAB still retaining the largest market share, according to recent data released by the prudential regulator.

“We believe we are the leading business bank across the spectrum of products,” she said. “We are laser focused on meeting customer needs. We believe new customers will be attracted to that … We certainly think we are taking a leading position.”

CBA general manager of merchant solutions Karen Last with group executive for business banking Mike Vacy-Lyle and Charles Wang, business owner at cafe Nevaggio.
CBA general manager of merchant solutions Karen Last with group executive for business banking Mike Vacy-Lyle and Charles Wang, business owner at cafe Nevaggio.CREDIT:LOUIE DOUVIS

Services for small business owners is emerging as a key battleground as the banking industry competes for returns amid historically low interest rates. NAB has long branded itself as Australia’s biggest and leading business bank, but CBA has made inroads over the past 18 months beginning with a recruitment drive of 120 business bankers.

Chief executive Matt Comyn has expressed his desire to grow market share in the lucrative sector and in June senior executive Mike Vacy-Lyle described CBA as the “sleeping beast” in business banking, pledging to disrupt the sector through product innovation.

CBA on Wednesday launched a new fleet of merchant terminals that enable small business owners to plug into two network providers and Wi-Fi to avoid restrictions on accepting payments during service outages. Next week, CBA will roll out a flat fee of 1.1 per cent for all instore transactions, slightly cheaper that NAB’s 1.15 per cent starting rate.

Ms Last said the revamped merchant terminals were an important tool for the bank to attract new small business customers, and the new features were implemented in direct response to customer feedback.

“If you sit in one of our call centres and listen to calls for any duration of time, connectivity is always a key issue. You can never afford to have merchant terminals down,” Ms Last said.

Ms Last said the merchant terminals would pave the way for its new and existing small business customers to take up additional products within the bank, like loans.

“[It’s] setting up your [transaction] account first, and then merchant facilities coming off it are at the core of any relationship we have and a key enabler actually for some of our lending propositions as well,” she said.

The latest APRA data shows NAB retains its number one position, with 21.9 per cent of the business banking market. Ms Last said she could not discuss modelling around what impact the terminals will have on CBA’s market share but added she was “very comfortable” it would claw new customers away from competitors.

NAB’s business banking boss Andrew Irvine in March brushed off concerns over competition in March, after announcing 134 new small business bankers had been hired. “More competition breeds better outcomes for customers. I welcome competition,” Mr Irvine said.

NAB’s merchant services executive Mark Raymer said in a statement he was “focused on what matters to our customers”.

“And they’re telling us they want us to support them to ensure they can bounce back quickly, so that’s what we are concentrating on with more bankers in our network, simpler and faster lending to small businesses and a simplified and competitive merchant offer,” he said.

Amazon’s small business shield

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Amazon is touting the success of small sellers on its platform through the pandemic — and warning that antitrust legislation could jeopardize that success and blow up its open-marketplace model.

Why it matters: As online shopping became a lifeline for both businesses and consumers during the pandemic, Amazon reaped big benefits, but also saw its regulatory risk grow.

Driving the news: In a new report Tuesday ahead of the company’s annual seller conference, Amazon said more than 200,000 new sellers joined its U.S. store in 2020, a 45% increase over the previous year.

  • U.S. sellers averaged $200,000 in sales, up from about $170,000 the year before. The number of sellers who topped $1 million in sales increased by 15%.
  • Nebraska, South Dakota, and Iowa were among the top ten states with the fastest-growing sales. That’s a sign that sellers in more rural areas are turning to the online marketplace during the pandemic, Dharmesh Mehta, Amazon’s vice president of worldwide customer trust and partner support, told Axios.

What they’re saying: “Sellers, in spite of all the challenges that the pandemic has brought, have really thrived in our store and continued to grow super fast and actually faster than Amazon’s own retail business,” Mehta said.

The other side: As commerce moved from brick-and-mortar stores to online marketplaces, both Amazon and merchants who sell on the platform have benefited, but sellers operate at a disadvantage, Ethan McAfee, founder and CEO of Amify, a company that helps brands sell on Amazon, told Axios.

  • “To say selling on the Amazon marketplace against Amazon is even remotely fair is a joke,” McAfee said.
  • Sellers on Amazon have seen the rules swiftly change, have had their accounts shut down without warning and have seen Amazon copy their products, Stacy Mitchell, co-executive director of anti-monopoly think tank the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.
  • “Amazon has taken small businesses hostage, and now it’s threatening to shoot them,” Mitchell told Axios.
  • “What happens with independent businesses is if they want to reach the online market, they have little choice but to sell on Amazon. They don’t have options.”

Amazon is facing renewed criticism after The Markup and Reuters reported last week on ways Amazon favors its own products over those of its third-party sellers.

  • Leaders in the House Judiciary Committee cited those news reports in a letter Monday questioning whether Amazon executives — including former CEO Jeff Bezos — lied or misled lawmakers during congressional testimony.
  • “Amazon and its executives did not mislead the committee, and we have denied and sought to correct the record on the inaccurate media articles in question,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement in response to the lawmakers’ letter.
  • Amazon says it bars the use of individual seller data in the development of its own products, investigates allegations of violations, and delivers search results without regard to the product’s source from Amazon or an independent seller.

Yes, but: Amazon has become an “essential intermediary” for businesses, especially during the pandemic, Sarah Miller, executive director of anti-monopoly group American Economic Liberties Project, told Axios — and that makes the company’s power as both the operator of the marketplace and a competing seller even more problematic.

  • “Just because Amazon grew to become a dominant gatekeeper across the online economy while policymakers were asleep at the wheel doesn’t give them a license to steal from the businesses that are dependent on them,” Miller said. “And that’s essentially what is happening.”

What’s next: Bipartisan legislation in the House and Senate would prohibit Amazon from favoring its own products in a way that harms competition.

  • Amazon warns that if some of those measures become law, it could jeopardize the ability of third parties to sell on its platform.
  • “We believe that the antitrust legislation packages that have been introduced could prevent us from selling products from our third-party selling partners at all, alongside our own,” Mehta said.
  • “There’s a path where sellers may not be able to sell in our store if certain legislation is passed, and that’s not an outcome we would ever want.”

Reality check: Third-party sales account for 60% of sales on Amazon. McAfee said he’s skeptical the company would abandon that line of business.

  • “I think it’s unrealistic to think that Amazon would do anything to dramatically change the workings of the Amazon third-party marketplace,” he said.

How to Choose the Best Bathroom Vanity Bunnings Seller in Australia

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If you live in any part of Australia, you would most likely be interested in getting the best cabinets and storage capacities for your bathroom. Getting the furniture and bathroom cabinets just right would be crucial to ensuring that you have a well-organized bathroom. Most people have found that getting a bathroom vanity Bunnings can be quite the lifesaver.

While this is true, there is often the trouble of actually finding the right retail seller right here in Australia and even outside the country. If you are currently facing this issue, here are some points which could help you now and in the future.

Delivery options matter

When choosing a retailer and its product, one thing which you have to look at is your delivery options. Do they deliver to your town or do you have to go to another city just to get it? Having this in mind would allow you to make a quick decision when you are confronted with this issue.

Our recommendation is that you always go with a seller which can always deliver regardless of where you are in the country.

Reputation is key

bathroom vanity Bunnings
bathroom vanity Bunnings

Another thing which would help you choose wisely would be the reputation of your seller. Usually, this should not be too hard to find out. In this world we live in, the internet is proving to be a good source of information when it comes to finding out the truth. You could also find out more from friends or people that you know that have used that seller.

However, be careful though! Sellers could actually put out fake reviews just to draw unsuspecting customers towards them. However, these reviews are usually very easy to spot.

Costs and Customer Service

Another hint you might get when choosing can come from their customer service or care. It is always a good idea to go with a seller which has shown that he cares about his customers and how their customer satisfaction. Going with one which doesn’t could very well end in disaster.

This would however not even be considered if the costs of the product are outrageous. Costs are one thing that decides a lot of issues. If the seller sets a price which is just not in your range, it might be time to take a walk. However, it is vital that you also do not rush into a purchase just because the price is lower or much cheaper. Sometimes, lower costs actually translate to cheaper products. It is vital that you remember this before making a buy that you would regret.

Getting Bathroom Vanity Bunnings

There are many ways in which one can actually get Bathroom vanity Bunnings in Australia. However, it is important that you consider these points before making up your mind. Getting bathroom vanity Bunnings would ensure that you keep your bathroom decluttered while also ensuring that it remains appealing to the eye. You really have nothing to lose.