COVID-19: Temporary Bridging Loan - SMEs Should Read This Before Applying - 2021 Edition

Temporary Bridging Loan

The article was written on 24/5/2020 and updated on 6/7/2021 to reflect the new extension

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. 1st October 2021 to 31 March 2022

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

  • FS Capital Pte Ltd

  • Goldbell Financial Services Pte Ltd

  • Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation

  • Hong Leong Finance Ltd

  • IFS Capital Ltd

  • Innoven Capital

  • Maybank Singapore Ltd and Malayan Banking Berhad, Singapore Branch

  • 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

  • Validus Capital Pte. 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 S$3 million
  • Maximum repayment period - 5 years
  • Up to one year deferral of principal repayment, subject to assessment (For Tier 1 & Tier 2 Industry)
  • 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

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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 S$3 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% 3.25% 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% 4.5% EIR

2% 3.5% EIR

2.5% 3.25% EIR

PROCESSING FEE*

0% 1.5%

0% 1.5%

0.88% 1.5%

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.


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.

Read alsoWith MAS and Banks In Talks To Extend Debt Relief Scheme, Should You Opt In Or Not? - Updated As Of 27 June 2021

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 A FINANCIAL INSTITUTION TO APPROVE YOUR APPLICATION?

1. YEARS OF INCORPORATION & MINIMUM TURNOVER REQUIREMENTS:


Most financial institutions have a minimum incorporation requirement for the 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 a 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. 




    2. 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 year financial reports for assessment purposes.

The 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 purchases for motor vehicles, and leasing commitments. Generally, rental commitments are not included in banks’ Debt Servicing Ratio calculation.

3. 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. 



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 borrowers, 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. 



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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UPDATED AS OF 26 Jul 2021
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6%
Per year
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0.98%
Per year
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1%
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