The Commonwealth Bank has released the latest data from its Benefits finder service, with small businesses claiming around $93 million in government benefits through the digital dashboard service in the six months to December 2021.
Around 100,000 small businesses visited the bank’s ‘Benefits finder for Business’ online dashboard during this time, with around 12,500 of these SMEs initiating a successful claim through the service between June and December 2021.
CBA notes that the average amount claimed by businesses through the service was just under $11,000.
The dashboard, accessible via the CommBank app and the web-based NetBank, is designed to provide a shortcut for users to access and apply for business-specific financial benefits, many of which are provided by the government, including support payments, grants and pathways to upskill workers.
Among the benefits offered include state and federal Covid support measures, skills and vocational training paths, and environmental rebates.
Spun off last June from the retail customer version of the service (originally launched back in September 2019), CBA notes that it has added more than 145 business-specific benefits and rebates to Benefits finder since it opened for SME customers.
The June update included a slew of extra features for small businesses facing protracted Covid lockdowns, including cash flow management support, employment, and mentoring benefits.
“We’re continuing to invest in our digital tools and products to make it easier for our customers to run their businesses, and that includes expanding Benefits finder”, said CBA executive general manager, small business banking, Clare Morgan.
“We’re moving quickly to keep updating the digital feature for businesses, with new grants, rebates and other benefits continually added every month and in response to real-time events, such as the major flooding across Australia’s east coast”.
Benefits finder leverages the bank’s machine-learning backed Customer Engagement Engine (CCE) to personalise and help simplify the claim process for its users.
The CCE uses Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning and insights from customer activity to drive personalised customer interactions. In 2020, the CCE had embedded at least 200 machine learning models with 157 billion data points analysed in real-time.
In response to recent natural disasters across Australia’s eastern seaboard, Morgan said the service has been updated to include state-specific special disaster assistance grants for flood-impacted businesses.
“This is in addition to CBA’s Emergency Assistance, and the aim is to help those impacted customers find the right support more quickly.
“Every business has different needs and Benefits finder helps them access support more quickly to, ultimately, put more money back into their business,” Morgan said.
CBA says Benefits finder has connected its retail and business customers to more than 1.8 million claims and help to save more than $500 million since its debut launch in September 2019.