Big banks brace for support as staff shortages hit

“I went to a well known restaurant in Melbourne last week which is closed now this week, and they had to cut the menu down to four items,” he said.

“They cut the menu down to a handful of items – and I’ve seen this in several restaurants – then take three or four hours to get your meal due to the lack of staff in the kitchen, lack of waiters. It really is a chronic problem.

Mike Vacy-Lyle, banking director of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia group, said hospitality, transport, tourism and leisure were the hardest hit.

“We also know that the current environment presents challenges for businesses across the country, including staff shortages due to high infection rates and the flow of trade impact, as well as chain disruptions. supply, ”he said.

“So far we’ve seen that the impact on businesses varies depending on the industry, geographic location and stage of a business’s life. Overall, we see the hospitality, transport, tourism and leisure sectors most affected. “

But with more and more workers staying at home on state government advice and largely deserted city streets, concerns are growing about consumer spending as well.

“For discretionary spending, people are thinking a bit more about whether to go out and whether they need to go out – so I think there’s going to be a bit of muted demand. There will certainly be supply impacts of labor shortages, ”said Mr. Irvine.

Mr Irvine said signs from abroad suggest the current wave may peak soon, meaning any impact will be short-term.

“We are all hoping this is something that will work on its own and from a global perspective we are now seeing a significant drop in omicron in the UK and South Africa. The hope is that it will be a cycle and we will all go through it in the not too distant future, ”Mr. Irvine said.

Mr Vacy Lyle said the majority of businesses remain in good shape, following good trading conditions in October, November and early December for many sectors, the combination of government stimulus measures and proactive support from banks.

“We continue to see the majority of Australian businesses remaining resilient to the omicron variant of the coronavirus. Our clients have also taken steps over the past two years to ensure their financial resilience, ”said Mr. Vacy-Lyle.

“Whether it’s preserving working capital or accessing financial support like JobKeeper, loan repayment deferrals, CBA merchant fee waivers, or financing through the loan program. to SMEs, ”said Mr. Vacy-Lyle.

An ANZ spokesperson said the Melbourne-based bank had yet to see a “material” increase in requests for support from businesses.

“We know that many of our corporate clients face personnel and supply chain challenges, with recent spending data indicating a decrease in consumer activity. At this point, we are not seeing a significant increase in requests for help with difficulties from our business customers, ”she said.

“The use of corporate overdrafts remains relatively low and deposit volumes are stable. This suggests that many businesses continue to navigate the current difficult COVID environment. “

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