Canstar reveals its 2021 Small Business Award Winner

The coronavirus pandemic continues to throw a spanner in the works for many small businesses throughout Australia.

Between May and June 2021, a higher proportion of businesses reported decreased revenue (24%) than increased (13%), with some businesses commenting their revenue had been impacted by lockdowns, according to the ABS. On a positive note, however, we have seen some optimism with nearly a quarter of businesses (23%) expecting to increase staff numbers over the next three months.

Whether your small business is still facing challenges or is looking towards recovery and future growth, the value you’re getting from your bank could play an important role, across a variety of products and services.

This is why, in addition to our Star Ratings for individual business products, Canstar names a winner of the Bank of the Year – Small Business Award every year. This Award assesses financial institutions based on the following three pillars:

  • Small Business Banking Products
  • Business Banking Services
  • Customer Satisfaction

The award recognises the bank found to offer the best cumulative performance across the metrics assessed.

For this year’s Small Business Award, Canstar Research assessed the business product offerings of nine eligible institutions from our database, including 22 business savings and transaction accounts, 36 business loans, and 26 business credit cards.

How was the Award winner decided?

To be eligible for consideration, a financial institution must have at least two product offerings of business loans, business credit cards and/or business savings/transaction accounts and also offer branch access in a majority of states and territories. The financial institutions included in this year’s Small Business Award were assessed using a methodology that considered:

  1. Products – A provider’s product score was calculated based on their best performance in our Star Ratings for business loans, credit cards, transaction and savings accounts, as well as an Award-specific assessment of providers’ term deposit products available to businesses. Other product aspects such as equipment finance options and business insurance were also considered. A provider’s products accounted for 50% of its overall score.
  2. Business Banking Services – Services provided to small businesses, including branch and ATM access, online banking, merchant services (e.g. payment terminals and software provided by banks to businesses), specialist advisors, and disaster relief/support accounted for 30% of each provider’s overall score.
  3. Customer Satisfaction – The remaining 20% of each provider’s score was based on a Canstar survey of small business owners regarding their satisfaction with specific aspects of their relationship with their provider, including value for money, customer service, problem resolution, communication, and fees and charges.

The financial institution with the highest overall score across these three categories was recognised with the Bank of the Year – Small Business.

2021 Bank of the Year – Small Business: St.George Group

St.George Group including St.George Bank, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA has won this year’s Bank of the Year – Small Business Award. The three brands provide consumers with a very similar product and service offering, but operate in separate states and territories – St.George primarily services customers in New South Wales and Queensland, Bank of Melbourne operates in Victoria, and BankSA caters to consumers in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Canstar Research said St.George Group offers extremely competitive lending products, along with market-leading business credit cards and business overdraft accounts. They provide a wide range of business banking services with strong disaster relief and support, including well-developed education programs and tools for small business owners. The St.George Group received the highest interest rate satisfaction score, and the second highest customer service satisfaction score for providers assessed.

St George Bank also recently took out a number of awards for business loans.

This year the majority of providers received higher average customer satisfaction scores in Canstar’s survey than previous years. Value for money was the biggest influence on customers’ overall satisfaction and problem resolution was more of an influential factor than fees and charges.

For more information on how the results of Canstar’s 2021 Small Business Award were calculated, you can read the methodology.

Cover image source: loreanto/

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This content was reviewed by Sub Editor Jacqueline Belesky as part of our fact-checking process.

Shay has worked in content for over a decade. Her experience includes PR and copywriting in Australia and the UK where she consulted to Lloyds Banking Group. She also gained work experience at Czech Republic English-language newspaper The Prague Post and Quest newspaper The Wynnum Herald.

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