It is apparent that there still are businesses that are financially struggling because of the COVID19 pandemic. The uncertainty that stems from the pandemic, along with the restrictions that come with it causes the SME sector to fall from growth in the past months.
Because of this, business owners have been starting to feel a sense of hopelessness, with studies showing that the business sentiment across the country has plunged to its lowest–ever since 2009.
Amidst these financial problems, we can say that help is really on the way, especially for SMEs. This article will introduce us to the what’s and the how’s of the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP).
What is the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme?
The Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP) is a form of financing assistance that acts like a working capital loaning program to help give them the boost they need for their business needs.
Maximum loan amount
The maximum loan quantum that a business can borrow in Singapore under the programme is S$3 Million per borrower. Such borrowers are still however subject to a borrower group limit (with corporate shareholders and subsidiaries), which is capped at $20 Million.
Companies and borrowers who are enrolled in this financing programme shall be subject to a cap of 5% interest per annum on top of their loaned amount.
The maximum repayment period for these bridging loans are capped at five years.
Risk shares under this bridging loan programme is at 70%. It is a common principle, of course, that the borrower should be subject to repaying the total amount of what they borrowed. However, when they go on default, the Participating Financial Institutions (or PFIs) are mandated to adhere to their standard recovery procedures.
These institutions should realize security before they can file claims against Enterprise Singapore for the unrecovered amount–as proportionally referenced to the risk-share percentage quota.
The official participating financial included in this program are the following:
- ORIX Leasing Singapore Ltd
- Hong Leong Finance Ltd
- Maybank Singapore Ltd and Malayan Banking berhad, Singapore Branch
- OCBC Bank (Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Ltd)
- CIMB Bank Berhad
- Standard Chartered Bank
- Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation
- Goldbell Financial Services Pte Ltd
- Ethoz Capital Ltd
- IFS Capital Pte Ltd
- DBS Bank Ltd
- RHB Bank Berhad
- Sing Investments & Finance Ltd
- United Overseas Bank Ltd
- Innoven Capital
- Resona Merchant Bank Asia Ltd
- Validus Investment Holdings Pte. Ltd
- Bank of China and
- Singapura Finance Ltd.
How to apply?
Interested SMEs may get in touch with any of the Participating Financial Institutions stated above to apply for the loans (which will still fall under their own credit approval systems).
The application procedure is as follows:
To be able to avoid rejection from the participating financial institution, you should have the following criteria to qualify:
- Have a business entity that is registered and physically present in Singapore.
- Own at least 30% minimum of local equity that is held indirectly or directly by Singapore PRs which are determined by the ultimate individual ownership.
- Have a revenue cap of S$500 million for all companies–in the context of a Maximum Borrower Group
Along with the EFS e-form, the following documents are required as forms of declaration:
- Asset invoice (if any)
- Latest ACRA search of application company
- Latest ACRA search of corporate shareholders (this is only applicable if corporate shareholders hold more than 50% of the total shareholding).
- Financial statements that are not published more than 1 year prior to the application.
- Other documents deemed necessary for submission, as specified by the Participating Financial Institution.
Steps to apply
Borrowers will need to submit the Enterprise Financing Scheme e-form along with their required supporting documents to the Participating Financial Institution.
The Participating Financial Institution evaluates your application under the financing scheme. Wait for their approval.
If your loan application is approved by the Participating Financial Institution, a Letter of Offer will be provided to you. Review this offer, and indicate your acceptance. Afterward, your loan will be disbursed to you. (Note that the disbursement process varies across financing institutions).
Alternatives to the TBP
Working capital loan
The SME Working CapitalLoan (or WCL) is a financing loan programme from the government under the Enterprise Financing Scheme. It is a good alternative to the TBP because the WCL is still meant to help small businesses or other eligible SMEs with their financial and operational cash flow needs.
Unlike the bridging loan, borrowers can access only up to S$300k under this loaning programme. Also risk sharing percentages can vary between 50% to 70%. This means that the government can have 50% of risk sharing and up to 70% for young enterprises.
There are 17 financial institutions that are registered for this type of loan. In this regard, borrowers should know that eligibility criteria, approval, as well as interest rates for the WCL, vary across participating financial institutions.
To be eligible for approval, you should satisfy the following requirements:
- Your local business should be physically operating and registered in the country
- You should have 30% ultimate ownership of the shareholdings held by Singaporeans or their PRs.
- Your enterprise should have annual sales that are less than, or equal to S$100m.
Another alternative to the bridging loan is a business loan. To start, you should know that corporate loan products vary across banks. They come along with different interest rates and approval processes as well. Typically, these banks and financial institutions offer interest rates between 3.5% to 7% per annum for eligible SMEs.
When it comes to business secure financing, the general requirements include:
- The business should be in operations for at least 1 year, but 2 years would be more preferred.
- The business should have a minimum average balance of S$10k with their banks
- The business entity should have a minimum annual revenue of at least S$300k.
What is the difference between Temporary Bridging Loan Programme and SME Working Capital Loan?
The main differences are that the TBPL has an interest rate capped at 5% per annum, while there is no interest rate cap for the WCL. Also, financing is higher with TBPL at S$3M while only $300k for WCL.
Are there banks that do not require personal guarantees since the government is providing risk-sharing?
Banks will always require a100% personal guarantee even if the government covers 70% of the temporary bridging loan amount. Remember that this guarantee is not just a sign of security, but it shows commitment to the loan obligation
Can my business apply for the Temporary Bridging Loan multiple times with different participating financial institutions?
Yes! Enterprises can still apply for a new temporary bridging loan as long as their total exposure to the loan scheme must not exceed the cumulative maximum amount of S$3 million.
- TBPL is a good, secure financing option that can help your enterprise.
- While the government can risk-share up to 70% on a temporary bridging loan, 100% commitment on repayment to the banks must come from you.
- There are alternative options to a temporary bridging loan, but the interest rate and eligibility requirements vary across participating financial institutions.
As we battle this pandemic, we can say that the bridging loan is really one of the alternatives businesses can use to get that “jumpstart boost” for their operations. To access these privileges would mean that you should strategically search for firms that can help your company secure that loan for you by improving your chances for approval!
If you find it difficult to apply for a TBLP, you can instead apply for a loan to Fortune Credit, a licensed moneylender in Singapore. You can request a free loan quote here.