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Australia Rises In Global Alt-Lending Ranks

Australia is now the Asia Pacific region’s second-largest alternative finance market, largely due to a favorable regulatory climate, according to new KPMG analysis.

The Australian market is quickly becoming a hotbed of alternative lending, and new analysis from KPMG suggests it has risen up in the ranks.

According to a new report from KPMG’s Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance and the Australian Centre for Financial Studies, Australia could now be the Asia Pacific region’s second-largest alternative lending market, close behind China. News reports in the International Business Times on Friday (Sept. 22) said that a survey of 600 online alternative finance firms across the Asia Pacific found that Australia’s market grew 53 percent in the last year alone.

A key driver of that growth is favorable government policies, researchers said, with regulators around the world exploring how to ensure borrower protections without stifling innovation. About two-thirds of survey respondents said Australia’s regulatory climate is appropriate for the alternative lending industry.

While alternative finance remains a small portion of the overall lending market, the report also found that the Asia Pacific region is experiencing significant overall growth in this space.

China, though, is the clear winner, with its AltFin market accounting for 99.2 percent of the total Asia Pacific market, reports said.

The Australian government may be looking to facilitate growth of the alternative finance space, but research released in June suggested the industry has another hurdle to overcome: awareness.

Data from Moula and the research and consulting firm Digital Finance Analytics, outlined in their Disruption Index report, found there is room for the industry to gain traction by increasing visibility among small business borrowers.

“There is still a certain air of skepticism about non-traditional forms of lending,” said DFA Principal Martin North in an interview with Australian Broker at the time. “So, SMEs who need to borrow tend to still go to the normal suspects. They’ll look to the banks or put it on their credit cards.”

He added that this means the alternative finance industry has to work harder to boost awareness and promote education.

“I think the FinTech sector has a terrific opportunity to lend to the SME sector, but they haven’t yet cracked the right level of brand awareness,” North continued. “Perhaps they need to think about how they use online tools, particularly advertising, to re-energize the message that’s out there.”

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