COVID-19: Temporary Bridging Loan - SMEs Should Read This Before Applying

The impact of Covid-19 on the economy continues to worsen as we have now reached the fifth week of the “Circuit Breaker” period, and it sure seemed like a long time ago when Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat addressed the situation with the Solidarity Budget on 6th April 2020.

As announced in the Budget, one of the key support for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) is in terms of credit: Financing

Singapore Government has enhanced financing support for SMEs by increasing its risk-sharing to 90% for Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS)-SME Working Capital Loan and Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP) for loans initiated from 8th April 2020 to 31st March 2021. 

The EFS is managed by Enterprise Singapore, which has partnered with 15 participating banks and financial institutions. They are:

 

CIMB Bank Berhad

DBS Bank Ltd

Ethoz Capital Ltd

Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation

Hong Leong Finance Ltd

IFS Capital Ltd

Maybank Singapore Ltd

ORIX Leasing Singapore Ltd

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Ltd (OCBC Bank)

Resona Merchant Bank Asia Ltd

RHB Bank Berhad

Sing Investments & Finance Ltd

Singapura Finance Ltd

Standard Chartered Bank

United Overseas Bank Ltd

 

 

Enhanced Working Capital Loan 

  • Maximum loan quantum - S$1 million
  • Maximum repayment period - 5 years
  • Up to one year deferral of principal repayment, subject to assessment

Eligibility

  • Be a business entity that is registered and physically present in Singapore
  • Have at least 30% local equity held directly or indirectly by Singaporean(s) and/or Singapore PR(s), determined by the ultimate individual ownership
  • Have a Maximum Borrower Group revenue cap of S$500 million for all companies

 

Temporary Bridging Loan Programme

  • Maximum loan quantum - S$5 million
  • Maximum repayment period - 5 years
  • Up to one year deferral of principal repayment, subject to assessment 
  • Interest rate capped at 5% per annum

Eligibility 

  • Be a business entity that is registered and physically present in Singapore
  • At least 30% local equity held directly or indirectly by Singaporean(s) and/or Singapore PR(s), determined by the ultimate individual ownership


What is the difference between the TBLP and the Enhanced Enterprise Financing Scheme - SME Working Capital Loan (Enhanced EFS-WCL)?

TBLP was introduced in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, to help enterprises manage their immediate cash flow needs. Eligible enterprises can borrow up to S$5 million, with interest rate capped at 5% per annum. SMEs that require help beyond the TBLP can also tap on the Enhanced EFS-WCL, which has been further enhanced to support loans of up to S$1 million. Interest rates are not subject to a cap.

Interest rates for these government-assisted loans have been reduced by half, or more than half, to as low as 2.5% per annum Effective Interest Rate (EIR) for some businesses. However, credit criteria and interest rates differ across all banks and financial institutions.


Top 3 Banks That Offer The Best Value-for-money Temporary Bridging Loan Programme:

 

DBS

OCBC

UOB

INTEREST RATE*

2.5% EIR

2% EIR

2.5% EIR

PROCESSING FEE*

0%

0%

0.88%

MORATORIUM OPTION

YES

YES

YES**

As of 30th June 2020

*Note that interest rates and processing fees are subject to the borrower's financial standing, and banks have the discretion to adjust up or downwards.

**We heard UOB will be launching their moratorium scheme by next week, stay tuned to this page for future updates.

Update as of 14/05/2020, we can confirm that SMEs can apply moratorium scheme with UOB too.

MORATORIUM OPTION

SMEs can have the option to defer principal repayment, which means they only service the interest payment for the 6 or 12 months, and thereafter continue to service the principal and interest payments for the remaining loan tenure.

Do note that although this results in a lesser commitment for the first year for SMEs, some banks do calculate the moratorium interest at a simple interest rate rather than EIR thus increasing the cost of funding. Please check with your relationship manager before opting for this scheme. 

Most financial institutions might also offer no early repayment penalty for SMEs that wish to do an early redemption of the loan, subject to contract terms and conditions.


WHAT ARE THE QUALIFYING CRITERIA FOR FINANCIAL INSTITUTION TO APPROVE YOUR APPLICATION?

YEARS OF INCORPORATION & MINIMUM TURNOVER REQUIREMENTS:

Most financial institutions have a minimum incorporation requirement for submission of applications. Most common borrowers need to be at least 2 years incorporated. For start-ups or SMEs that are incorporated less than 2 years, DBS and OCBC do extend TBLP to them.

For minimum turnover requirement, banks like UOB and SCB will only offer loans for SMEs that have minimum S$750,000 turnover, while others like DBS and OCBC can accept lesser turnover. Note that this is not a one size fit all approach as we do encounter SMEs that get approval from UOB even when they do not hit the minimum turnover requirement. 

Not sure what are the bank's minimum turnover and incorporation requirements?

Check out our comparison page for Temporary Bridging Loan Programme here and click on “DETAILS” under respective bank’s tab.


FINANCIAL AND CASH FLOW ANALYSIS:

Generally, SMEs must be profit making for at least 1 or 2 years as financial institutions will require submission of the latest 2 years financial reports for assessment purposes.

Bank balance of corporate accounts must be of ideal balance, i.e their mid and end month balance averaging for the last 6 months must be of adequate liquidity to service the new loan and the various commitments that SMEs are currently servicing. This includes unsecured loans that are taken with other banks, hire purchase for motor vehicle, and leasing commitments. Generally, rental commitments are not included in banks’ Debt Servicing Ratio calculation.


CREDIT BUREAU REPORT OF DIRECTORS/SHAREHOLDERS:

As banks and financial institutions will require a Personal Guarantee (PG) from the borrower’s director/shareholders, the Credit Bureau Report is one of the key factors in determining loan approval. 

Why is there a need for a PG?

A PG is not only a means of security but signals a commitment by the guarantor(s) that they are committed to the loan obligation.

The rule of thumb is that the Credit Bureau Score (CBS) must not fall below a GG rating, although certain banks and financial institutions do approve CBS of a lower rating than GG, i.e HH if the borrower shows strong financial standing. 

Utilization of unsecured personal loan/credit cards to total limit approved must not exceed 70%, i.e if total unsecured personal loan/credit cards credit limit of the director/shareholder is S$100,000, the amount that has been used must not be more than S$70,000.

What if your application is rejected by banks and financial institutions because of a poor CBS? Your best option is to approach Peer to Peer or Business to Business lenders, but this could be at a much higher interest rate and shorter loan tenure.

Above are the general guidelines by banks and financial institutions for the approval of a loan application. Other factors include any litigations on borrower, nature of business (Oil & Gas Industry is deemed as a high risk business), age of applicants etc will come into consideration too. 


WHAT ARE THE REQUIRED DOCUMENTS FOR SUBMISSION?

  1. Company Latest 2 Years Financial Report

  2. Latest 3-6 Months Company Bank Statements

  3. NRIC Copies Of All Directors/Shareholders

  4. Latest 2 years Notice Of Assessment For All Directors/Shareholders

Banks and Financial Institutions might require other additional supporting documents such as company debtor/creditor ageing lists, existing business contracts, personal statements etc to further strengthen the application during the application.


TIMELINE FOR APPROVAL?

Given the huge influx of applications that all banks and financial institutions are facing during this period, an estimated timeline of approximately 3-4 weeks or even longer is expected. 

Does applying for the loan through a business loan broker help to expedite the process?

Read: Do You Really Need A Business Loan Broker In Singapore?


DO YOU KNOW:

If your TBL applications are rejected by the banks and financial institutions, SMEs can contact further support or appeal to Enterprise Singapore at (65) 6898 1800 or enquiry@enterprisesg.gov.sg for assistance.

 

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Not sure whether your company can be qualified for bank loans or alternative lending? Try our A.I assisted loan, and Smart Towkay team will send you a lending report within 24 hours' time. With the lending report, we aggregate and recommend the highest chance of approval be it with BANKS / FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS or Alternative lenders like Peer to Peer Lenders or even B2B lender!

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UPDATED AS OF 24 Nov 2020
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