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SBF welcomes expansion of digital banking sector to support financing needs of SMEs

Sunday, 5 January 2020 [Singapore] As the apex business chamber representing over 27,000 companies, the Singapore Business Federation welcomes the expansion of the digital banking sector which can improve access to finance for underserved SMEs in particular.

The 2018 SME Development Survey showed that 44 per cent of SMEs face internal difficulties managing their finances. Some 50 per cent of SMEs found to be facing challenges in managing the finances highlighted difficulties in handling "cashflow, liquidity, and credit risk" as a key concern, up from 38 per cent in 2017. In SBF’s latest annual National Business Survey, two in five businesses, particularly those in the retail, hospitality and construction sectors, reported facing a credit crunch while the cost of financing remains a challenge for some 40 per cent of companies.

SBF CEO Mr Ho Meng Kit said, “Through the studies we have conducted, SBF recognises that there are significant gaps in the SME financing landscape. We share and support the goal of the BEYOND Consortium to address these gaps and serve the needs of the SME community with innovative, industry-specific financing solutions and digital services in order to support their growth locally and globally.”

The BEYOND consortium comprising V3 Group Limited, Far East Organization, SBF, EZ-Link Pte Ltd, MSIG Insurance Singapore, and Heliconia Capital Management announced today its submission of a bid to the Monetary Authority of Singapore for a Digital Full Bank Licence. SBF holds a minority stake in the consortium.

Mr Ho added, “SBF’s participation in BEYOND brings strategic value to both the Federation and the consortium. With our strong understanding and network of SMEs, we can help in tailoring solutions that our SMEs want and need, while the consortium’s extensive reach and knowledge of the SME ecosystem, allows the Federation to extend its services, to a larger SME community and its workforce, whether it’s future-proofing businesses or helping companies grow globally.”

With business transformation a growing priority among Singapore businesses, BEYOND, together with BEYOND Lab, can spur SMEs in Singapore to leverage and embrace technology to scale up operations, capabilities and capacity and transform themselves to meet the challenges of the future.

SBF Chairman Mr S.S. Teo said, “SBF is constantly exploring opportunities and new ways to better serve the needs of our members and further our mission of promoting the growth and vibrancy of the Singapore business community. We’re pleased to have the support of our stakeholders in this bid. Many of our members are SMEs and this is a valuable opportunity to work with strong partners who share the same aspiration of helping Singapore’s business community to evolve and thrive through financial innovation.”

Please refer to the joint media release on the BEYOND Consortium here.

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