DBS approves more than $1.1b in loans to over 3,500 micro and small enterprises since March

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) – DBS has approved over 3,500 loans for micro and small enterprises totalling more than $1.1 billion, under Enterprise Singapore’s financing schemes.

The loans account for eight in 10 of all government-assisted small and medium-size enterprise (SME) loans that the bank has approved between the start of March and mid-May, it said in a media release on Monday (May 25).

Of the more than 3,500 loans approved, around three in 10 were for customers with no prior relationship with the bank, while over half were for customers with no prior borrowing history with DBS.

Among those with no borrowing history with the bank, the average loan quantum was $250,000. Two out of three borrowed $200,000 or less, of which over 800 borrowed $100,000 or below.

Borrowers came mainly from the services (comprising 27 per cent), building and construction (13 per cent), general wholesale (12 per cent), food and beverage (11 per cent) and retail (9 per cent) sectors.

DBS group head of SME banking Joyce Tee said the bank is doubling down on its support for micro and small enterprises amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

“Many have sound business models but are facing a cash crunch with business momentum slowing significantly due to the extended safe distancing and circuit breaker measures. In the meantime, overheads and contractual expenses still have to be met,” she said.

She noted that many of these companies have typically flown under the radar of lenders, and may not be familiar with the financing solutions that can meet their working capital needs.

DBS is working with key stakeholders to ensure that working capital support reaches the most challenged micro and small businesses.

Since early April, the bank and the Federation of Merchants’ Associations, Singapore have been collaborating on solutions to ease the cash flow challenges faced by heartland enterprises.

There are over 15,000 heartland enterprises across 14 town centres in Singapore, spanning a diverse range of businesses, from kopitiam owners to service providers and neighbourhood mom and pop shops, said DBS.

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