With the current economic conditions not back to normal following the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, SMEs have an increased need for financial options to keep them going. With the help of proper SME bridging loans in Singapore, local businesses can get the working capital and funds needed to carry out their operations and even buy assets.
These bridging loans help SMEs with options to access cash to keep their businesses afloat until the economic conditions get back to normal. Also, the loans mean that the SMEs can access the funds through low-cost loans. There are also bridging loan specifically for home owners and loaners looking to accquire their second property.
What is SME bridging loan?
SME bridging loans are financial loans designed to help most local businesses in Singapore get through the challenging economic conditions brought by the pandemic. These loans can be accessed through individual banks, money lending institutions, or participating financial institutions participating in the government’s enhanced financial scheme (EFS) through Enterprise Singapore (ES).
Available SME Bridging Loans in Singapore
Getting an SME loan in Singapore should not be a challenging undertaking. This is because many bridging loan facilities are available to businesses in Singapore. However, the three most common and popular options are Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP), SME Working Capital Loan (WCL), and Standard Business Loan options provided by banks and lenders in the country.
Temporary Bridging Loan (TBL)
This is one of the bridging loan programmes under the umbrella of the EFS. According to the parameters set during the latest extension, the TBL programme period is due to end on 30 September 2022. The Singapore government will cover a risk share of 70%, with PFI taking the rest of the risk share.
Other parameters include the maximum loan quantum being set at 1M and the interest rate for the loan capped at 5.5% per annum. Additionally, the repayment period for the loan is a maximum of five years.
Like most other loan options, the temporary bridging loan programme has pros and cons. Let’s look at them below.
- The interest rate has been capped at 5.5%. No PFI can charge an interest rate above this specified figure.
- The government covers a risk share of 70% of the principal loan, meaning that many PFIs are willing to approve and fund bridging loans to local businesses.
- The repayment period of five years is more extended than most other bridging loan options have to offer.
- Businesses can apply for a maximum loan amount of 1M while borrower groups up to 20M.
- The applicant company can apply for more than one loan as a loan as the maximum amount does not exceed 1M.
- The eligibility and requirement criteria to apply for the temporary bridging loan are not as stringent as those needed by other types of loans.
- Many participating institutions to apply from; there are about 19 PFIs.
- The borrower is required to provide a 100% personal guarantee
- The application period for a loan will end on 30 September 2022 (according to the most recent extension).
- Approval and funding are up to the PFIs.
- Not an option for foreign businesses in the country, companies that have not been in operation for more than six months, and those that are not ACRA registered.
SME Working Capital Loan (WCL)
WCL is an excellent approach for businesses to generate operating working capital to meet their demands. The loan also falls under the Enhanced Financing Scheme set up by Enterprise Singapore. The government can cover up to 50% risk share for any loan funded under the WCL parameters.
Below are some of the pros and cons of SME Working Capital Loans:
- It is accessible to local businesses.
- The government covers a 50% risk share, enticing PFIs to fund loans under WCL.
- Businesses can access up to 300K and 5M working capital loans for borrower groups.
- Available to smaller firms with less than 200 employees or a revenue turnover of less than 100M.
- Several PFIs to apply from.
- The application period is not ending anytime soon, unlike the TBLP. This gives the business an extended period to apply and benefit from the loan.
- It has similar eligibility requirements as TBLP making application easier.
- The risk share covered by the government is only 50%.
- Businesses can access a lower maximum loan quantum (300K for typical enterprises and 5M for business groups).
- The loan’s interest rate is slightly higher than that of TBL loans because they are not capped like TBLP but are determined by the PFI.
Standard Business Loan
Apart from banks, moneylenders also offer business loan packages. In most cases, these loans have lenient requirements and are disbursed quicker. They do not require a credit check, and the maximum loan quantum is around 200,000, with a tenure of up to 2 years.
Standard Business Loans from Banks and Money Lenders
Aside from banks, licensed moneylenders in Singapore also offer business loans. These two types of loans are designed for the same purposes but have a lot of differences. Here are some of these critical differences:
1. Interest Rates
The interest rate charged by licensed money lenders in Singapore varies between 5-15%.
Bank interest rates mainly depend on the lending firm and may be higher or lower than moneylenders. Additionally, they offer a choice between effective or flat interest rates.
2. Loan Amount
Most moneylenders will give a loan up to a maximum of 200,000.
Banks will access the operational activities of a business and may offer anywhere from 20,000 to 500,000.
3. Credit Check
Although some moneylenders may perform a hard pull of the borrower’s credit score, they do not use it as a basis to approve a business loan. The main factor of consideration is the annual income of the borrower.
However, banks will use the borrower’s credit score to carry out their risk assessment and decide on whether or not to approve a loan and the amount.
4. Speed of Cash Disbursal
Moneylenders offer faster disbursement after the business loan is approved; the funds may be disbursed within the same day. Some disburse the funds within 1 hour.
Banks may take between 1 and 4 weeks to approve and disburse business loan funds.
Moneylender business loans have a repayment tenure of up to 24 months (2 years).
Bank business loans can have a repayment tenure of up to 60 months (5 years).
Bank Business Loan vs Moneylender Business Loan Comparison Table
|Bank Business Loan||Moneylender Business Loan|
It varies depending on the bank
Up to S$500,000
Up to a max of S$200,000
Used to assess your loan application
Not essential to your loan approval
Speed of Cash Disbursal
1 hour or the same day
Up to 60 months
Up to 24 months
Which Bridging Loan Should You Get?
There is no one best choice for a business loan. The main determining factors must be what the business intends to do with the loan and the terms. Let’s compare some of the parameters of Singapore’s three main bridging loan options.
|Temporary Bridging Loan||Working Capital Loan||Standard Bridging Loan and Business Loan|
Interest rate capped at 5.5%
Can be up to 6%
Maximum Loan Quantum
S$1M for typical borrowing businesses and S$20M for borrower groups
S$300,000 for local businesses and 5M for borrower groups
Bank and financial institutions
Purpose of Loan
Which Bridging Loan Option is Best for Who?
Temporary Bridging Loan (TBL)
TBL is an excellent option for local businesses with more than six months of operating looking for a cash flow of up to 1 million.
Eligibility and Requirements
Some of the qualifying and criteria characteristics for TBLP are as follows:
- Any Singapore-based firm that has been in business for more than six months.
- The loan requested should not surpass $1 million per borrower and $20 million for borrowing groups.
- The entity has to be registered and physically present in the country.
- A minimum of 30% of the stock of the firm or borrowing group must be controlled by PR or Singapore citizens.
- The subject must offer a personal guarantee to the PFI sponsoring the loan.
How to Apply: Step by Step Application Process
- Get the paperwork from the EFS website or obtain one from your preferred PFI.
- Complete the paperwork and attach any requisite documents.
- Submit the completed form to a PFI.
- Approval and funding
SME Working Capital Loan (WCL)
SME Working Capital Loan is a good option for enterprises with less than 200 employees looking for cash flow funding of up to 300K.
Eligibility and Requirements
- The eligible business should not have more than 200 employees or revenue over 100M.
- The business should be physically present in Singapore
- The company has to be ACRA register
- Permanent residents or citizens of Singapore should hold a minimum of stock of the business entity.
How to apply: Step-by-step application process
- Obtain the necessary documents and fill them out.
- Attach all the supporting documents required
- Submit the completed application to a PFI
- Wait for approval and funding.
Standard Bridging and Business Loan
It is a good option for any business entity looking for SME bridging loans in Singapore to fund their business. Most of the options are short-term loans.
Eligibility and Requirements for Standard Bridging Loans by Banks
If you apply using ACRA or MyInfo Business, most banks can retrieve the required information. However, additional information may be required on a case-by-case basis.
- Usually open to all businesses, including companies that don’t qualify for government-assisted loans
- Latest 2 years financial statements
- Latest 3 months bank statements
Eligibility and Requirements for Business Loans from Lenders
- 18 years or older
- More than $60,000 in turnover
- Business must have been operational for more than a year
- NRIC from partners and directors
- Profile of the business as provided by the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority
- Latest Income tax assessment (personal and the company)
- Latest financial statement
- Recent business contracts and invoices
- Recent company utility bills
How to Apply: Step-by-step application process
- Visit your preferred banks or money lender and ask for the application documents.
- Fill in the application and provide the requisite papers.
- Submit the paperwork and wait for approval and funding.
The fact that there are various options available for SME bridging loans in Singapore is a good thing. This means that every business has several options to choose from. Depending on their need, the main three options can be standard bridging and business loans, WCL and TBL.
- Standard bridging and business loans provide enterprises with the funds to buy new properties.
- WCL and TBL provide businesses with cash flow to operate their businesses.
- WCL and TBL have more extended repayments than the standard bridging and business loans offered by most banks and lending institutions.