With working capital the lifeblood of all SMEs, DBS has to date availed over 12,000 collateral-free loans totalling more than SGD 6.2 billion to SMEs in Singapore since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes close to SGD 1 billion in collateral-free loans approved to date in 2021.
Micro and small businesses continued to receive the vast majority of these loans, with 99% of loans in Q2 2021, when Singapore went through its first heightened alert period, going to micro and small enterprises. These loans were issued primarily to businesses in sectors that continue to bear the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic, including the food and beverage (F&B), retail, and building and construction (B&C) sectors.
With Singapore in the midst of another period of heightened alert to curb the spread of Covid-19, working capital and liquidity considerations continue to be the foremost concern for SMEs. In the most recent DBS SME Pulse Check Survey which was conducted with close to 200 micro and small enterprises in late May, ensuring sufficient cashflow and managing overhead costs were flagged as the top business priorities for micro and small businesses.
Now, DBS’ SME customers are able to accept loan offers on IDEA. This includes completing their loan acceptance procedures digitally from their own location.
This removes the need of of scheduling physical meetups with their bankers or arranging for document drop-offs, two of the most common loan acceptance methods in the industry today.
Availing contact-free, digital loan acceptance also helps safeguard the health of SME owners and their employees as Singapore adapts to Covid-19 being a fact of everyday life.
Joyce Tee, Group Head of SME Banking at DBS, noted that SMEs, especially micro and small enterprises, continue to be concerned about cashflow, especially with Singapore in its second round of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert). “Worries over cashflow are not going to fade away any time soon, so what we have been focused on is ensuring that SMEs get the working capital they need into their bank accounts with minimal delay.
Other enhancements DBS is incorporating include streamlining the the overall digital loan application journey, integrating SingPass authentication into the application process, and providing real-time tracking of application status.