DBS issued $6.2b in collateral-free loans to SMEs since start of Covid-19

DBS has introduced a new and digital loan acceptance solution to its SME customers. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - DBS has made over 12,000 collateral-free loans totalling more than S$6.2 billion to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) since the start of Covid-19, including nearly S$1 billion in collateral-free loans approved in the year to date.

In a press release issued on Monday, the bank said a "vast majority" or 99 per cent of the loans made in Q2 2021 went to micro and small enterprises.

It added that these loans were issued primarily to sectors that continue to bear the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic. The sectors include food and beverage, retail, and building and construction.

Citing a recent DBS SME Pulse Check Survey, the bank also observed that working capital and liquidity considerations remain the foremost concern for SMEs. Ensuring sufficient cash flow and managing overhead costs were flagged as the top business priorities for close to 200 micro and small businesses surveyed in May this year.

As such, DBS has introduced a new and digital loan acceptance solution to its SME customers starting from today, enabling them to accept loan offers digitally via Ideal, the bank's online corporate banking platform.

This will not only allow SMEs to gain even speedier access to working capital during the latest round of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), but may also net SMEs up to a month in time savings in certain instances, said the bank in its press release.

The contact-free nature of the digital loan acceptance process also helps to safeguard the health of SME owners and their employees amid the ongoing pandemic, said the bank.

"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," said Joyce Tee, group head of SME banking at DBS.

"Through the industry's first digital loan acceptance solution (on Ideal), DBS is dramatically speeding up SMEs' access to vital working capital while saving precious time for business owners. By making banking more intuitive and invisible, our SMEs will be able to focus on more impactful aspects of fortifying their businesses during this period."

Other enhancements which are being incorporated into DBS' loan application process include the streamlining of the bank's overall digital loan application journey; integrating SingPass authentication into the loan application process; and providing real-time tracking of the application status.

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