PLEASE TELL US ABOUT THE NATURE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

My professional background has predominantly been in farming in New Zealand, and I did a five-year stint building a GPS fertilising tracking system for a company before making the switch to finance and have worked for JB Asset Services ever since.

JB Asset Services is a nationwide non-bank lender with offices in Auckland and Christchurch. We provide commercial asset finance and leasing products for a range of plant and equipment.

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST ISSUES YOUR CLIENTS ARE FACING IN THE CURRENT CLIMATE?

Currently, the biggest issue is getting work or having enough work. As a result of the pandemic, many are feeling as though there are not enough business opportunities available for contracting companies, such as earth moving, road building, etc. – unfortunately it’s dried up.

Additionally, a big impact of New Zealand’s Resource Management Act (RMA) is that there are big delays in the time it takes to be processed before they even begin. 

WHAT IMPACT DO YOU THINK COVID-19 HAS HAD ON THE LENDING LANDSCAPE?

There is a lot of concern in the market regarding the attitude of risk managers with both current and new clients, especially as ageing becomes more of an issue. The trade credit industry is also worrisome, and the impact that has on funders and clients. There is also a high level of angst with the government backed packages and the banks in particular.

WHAT DO YOU THINK WERE THE UNINTENDED OR HIDDEN CONSEQUENCES OF THE LOCKDOWN?

With the first lockdown, the government pumped lots of money into subsidies and businesses, so things didn’t seem too bad. But with the recent level 3 restrictions in Auckland, the wage subsidy and business subsidies have stopped.

It’s obvious that generations of people to come will be paying a lot of tax as a result of it all.

WHAT WOULD A TRANS-TASMAN BUBBLE DO FOR BUSINESS?

An immediate outcome of a Trans-Tasman bubble would breathe life back into the ailing tourism industry, but as a whole, I don’t think it would make a huge difference. No doubt it would help, but not like having the borders open to everyone.

Another sector that could benefit is agriculture. New Zealand has a shortage of drivers, so we might get young people keen to earn some money, come over and drive machinery. 

WHAT PROBLEMS HAS APRICITY SOLVED FOR YOUR CLIENTS?

Apricity has provided peace of mind – knowing with full confidence that they’ve got cashflow on the first week of each month. New Zealand, like a lot of countries, has built around the premise of doing the work in the first week of the month but payment isn’t received until the middle week of the following month, leaving 6-7 weeks before you get any income for that work. Businesses have boomed because they’ve had access to working capital and weekly cashflow.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT APRICITY?

Apricity New Zealand’s Head of Customer Relations, Alan Hewitt – he’s professional and easy to get on with which has made life so much easier. He’s got the skills and passion to make it work for any company. 

A lot of businesses are very cautious to leave one financier and go to another. Alan has the skills to persevere with companies to get them over the line, or get them thinking in a different manner. Apricity pays 95% of the invoice and that’s huge!