Australia’s Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC) and Westpac are to explore the potential of a new financial product to assist small and medium-sized Australian exporters (SMEs) with working capital.

Exporters frequently cite insufficient working capital as an obstacle to growing their export business.

The underlying principle of the new product concept would be to combine banks’ resources including extensive distribution systems with EFIC’s specialised mandate to assist Australian exporters.

The product concept is to enhance finance provided by a commercial lender and then be available for a broad range of export related purposes.

Processing would be streamlined by using the documentation, administration and processing already undertaken by the exporter ‘s bank.

The objective of the EFIC/Westpac alliance would be to launch a pilot of the product for market testing in June 2005. Other commercial banks would be involved in the pilot in a consultative role. If the pilot is successful, the product would be released nationally via the banks in the second half of 2005.