ANZ has launched a new battleground in small business banking, pledging to lend $1 billion to new businesses over the next year.
Small business operators have hailed the bank's move as a deserved mark of respect for small business start-ups, although questions linger about whether they will take the assistance being offered.
Dean Ramler, founder and CEO of furniture business Milan Direct, said banks should treat small businesses with respect "from day one".
"When we started Milan Direct six years ago, I literally walked down the street and got knocked back by the first three banks I approached - they all laughed at us and didn't take us seriously," he said. "The fourth bank, which did take us seriously, today has the business of a $20 million company. So it would be nice to see banks treat start-ups and small businesses with respect."
With credit growth decelerating across the economy, banks are keen to encourage a rebound in small business borrowing.
The total value of newly approved loans of less than $100,000 fell to $2.6 billion in the December quarter, down from $3 billion, Reserve Bank figures show.