Singapore's best bank for SMEs 2019: OCBC
OCBC’s mission appears to be to make lives easier for the owners of small and medium-sized enterprises. That was more than evident in some of its key rollouts during Asiamoney’s awards period.
First was its focus on SMEs run by one or two people (seven out of 10 businesses in Singapore fall into this category). OCBC launched an instant account-opening service for these businesses, thanks to which the SMEs can complete an online application for an account quickly, know the results of their application instantly and receive their new business account number on the spot.
Since its launch in November 2018, the acquisition of clients through this online platform has doubled, and 47% of all accounts opened at OCBC are now done through digital-enabled account opening.
Christie Chu, who is head of emerging business and commercial bank cash, global commercial banking, also points to the ease with which SMEs can now get new loans. The application process for loans of under S$100,000 ($72,000) now takes under five minutes, thanks to a new online scheme that OCBC kicked off in March this year. Its appeal was instant. In just three weeks, the bank tripled the number of online loan applications, receiving more than 200 submissions.
The bank took things up another notch in August, when it said SMEs would be able to receive in-principle approval for loans within an hour, compared to two working days in the past.
Trade finance applications have also been made easier, with SMEs now able to apply online for letters of credit, bank guarantees and invoice financing, among other things.