Many businesses in Singapore have been grappling with challenges brought about by the pandemic. A few to mention are the rise in rent prices, soaring energy costs, labor costs, and inflation. Akeen to these challenges, the government of Singapore is extending financial support through Enterprise Singapore’s Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP).
As restrictions have been eased, especially in tourism and travel, businesses should take quick advantage of the demand. Businesses will need additional funds to sustain operational costs to keep up. However, bank loans may come with high interest during these times. The government takes part in the solution by offering critical support through government-assisted loans.
A temporary bridging loan could be suitable if your business has immediate cash flow concerns. Read on to learn more about this program, the latest revisions, and how it could benefit your business today.
What is the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme?
The Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP) is a government-assisted financial scheme offered to all business entities in Singapore. It is a flexible loan designed to help businesses bounce back by providing quick access to funds with manageable interest rates.
It was introduced on April 8, 2020 on the Solidarity Budget 2020 and was initially bound to expire last March 31, 2021. While the economy has been slowly improving, access to a financial lifeline may still be crucial for many businesses in Singapore. Thus, the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP) has been extended further to its current period, which expires on September 30, 2022.
You can check if your company is eligible for a temporary bridging loan by applying to the participating financial institution of your choice. Loan approval may range from one to six weeks, depending on the financial institution.
How Does the TBL Work?
A temporary bridging loan, as the name implies, is a temporary loan granted to serve a specific purpose. It can cover the gap between urgent business needs and when funds become ready or stable.
As there is a continuing need to grant financial assistance, the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme has been extended in phases covering six months. The latest scheme is set to end this September 30, 2022.
Unlike other business loans, the government co-shares with the risk in a TBL. This guarantee makes it easier for private financial institutions (PFIs) to grant loans to qualified businesses. Furthermore, PFIs will also require a 100% personal guarantee to ensure the entity’s commitment to paying the loan.
Still, in default cases, the PFI will follow its standard commercial recovery procedure. After which, they can claim against Enterprise Singapore for the risk-share quota of the unrecovered amount.
At A Glance
Let’s get a quick look at how its parameters have changed from its introduction to its latest scheme extension.
|Period Covered||Government‘s Risk Share||Maximum Loan Quantum(per borrower group)||Maximum Repayment Period||Interest Rate Per Year|
|April 8, 2020 to March 31, 2021||90%||S$5M||5 years||5%|
|April 1, 2021 to September 30, 2021||70%||S$3M||5 years||5%|
|October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2021||70%||S$3M||5 years||5%|
|April 1, 2022 to September 20, 2022||70%||S$1M||5 years||5.5%|
The latest scheme’s interest rate is capped at 5.5%. However, companies with good payment history may even get lower interest rate offers from a PFI.
List of Participating Financial Institutions for TBLP and Who Can Apply?
Currently, there are sixteen participating financial institutions, and the interest rates and qualifying credit criteria may vary among these PFIs. Leading banks like HSBC, DBS, Standard Chartered, CIMB, Maybank, and many others are among these financial institutions.
To be eligible, a business entity:
- Should be ACRA-registered and physically present in Singapore
- Must have at least 30% local equity held directly or indirectly by Singapore Citizens (SCs) and/or Singapore Permanent Residents (PRs)
- Has a revenue cap of $500M (maximum borrower group)
With its latest scheme offer, the maximum loan amount is capped at S$1M and is subject to an overall borrower group limit of S$20M. A borrower group could be any of the following:
- The principal borrower and corporate shareholders with over 50% of the company’s shareholding.
- Corporate parents (all levels up) and subsidiaries (all levels down).
Additionally, depending on the PFI, some exclusions are business entities in the following industries:
- Casinos or gambling
- Antique dealers
- Lethal military weapons and equipment
- Night bars or night clubs
- Pawn shops
- Money lenders
- Money changers
PFIs have their own respective lists of allowed industries. You may check with the PFI if your business entity is eligible for a loan application.
PFIs will require the following documents as forms of declaration:
- Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS) e-form
- Latest ACRA search of corporate shareholders (for shareholders with over 50% of the total shareholding)
- Latest ACRA search of application company
- Assets invoice
- Financial statements that are not published more than one year before the application
- Other documents required by the specific PFI
Step-by-step application process:
- Inquire from any participating financial institutions.
- Submit EFS e-form along with other necessary documents.
- Wait for the approval of your loan application.
- If approved, you will receive a Letter of Offer.
- Review the offer and indicate your acceptance.
- Wait for the disbursement of funds to your account.
TBL Vs. Other Enhanced Enterprise Financing Schemes
The TBL and the Enhanced Enterprise Financing Scheme aims to help the business sector in Singapore. TBL aims to provide local businesses access to immediate funds, while the Enhanced Enterprise Financing Scheme on Trade Loan is targeted to trade needs such as inventory and stock financing.
Another option could be the Enhanced Enterprise Financing Scheme on SME Working Capital Loan (EFS-WCL). This scheme targets both old and new SMEs to assist with operational cash flow needs.
Quick FAQ Section
1. Can a business group apply for another TBL from a different financial institution after a previously approved one?
Yes. You can have an approved TBL from another financial institution if you have not yet consumed the maximum loan cap. So, if the current loan cap is at S$1M and you have been approved at one PFI for S$500K, you can still apply for the remaining S$500K from a different PFI.
2. Are start-up companies eligible for a TBL?
Yes. Companies that have been incorporated for less than two years can apply. While approval can not be guaranteed, some banks are reasonably considerate of new start-ups. Still, approval will largely depend on the bank’s assessment of your credit history and capacity to pay.
3. Aside from documentation, are there also site visit inspections from PFIs?
Some PFIs may also conduct on-site inspections to ensure the legitimacy of a local business entity. On-site activities could be the following:
- Checking for proper company signage and tenancy agreement
- Selfie with company key person
- Taking photos of the company premises, staff, inventory, equipment, etc.
4. What are some reasons for a TBL application to be rejected, and what are other options if this happens?
A TBL approval is mainly dependent on the PFI’s lending criteria. Some reasons why a PFI rejects an application are:
- Having a weak cash flow during the years before the pandemic
- Your company has records of delinquent payments or loan defaults
- Being a new start-up with less than two years of operation
- Low credit scores
- Submitted incomplete or incorrect document requirements
- Your company has taken up too many loans from various lenders
If your application gets rejected you can consider other options such as a business loan from a trusted moneylender in Singapore. Aside from having lenient requirements, you can also get your loan applications approved within the day.
The temporary bridging loan programme is an excellent way to save people from unemployment and keep businesses afloat. The boost in working capital can help push business growth plans for thriving businesses. On the other hand, it is also the perfect opportunity for young businesses to improve credit worthiness.
- The TBLP is an excellent opportunity for cheap financing.
- The 5-year repayment scheme can help you purchase equipment and inventory and save you costs in terms of interest rates.
- Failure to repay your loan repayments will still result in legal repercussions.
Need a customized plan for an immediate boost in business cash flow? Raffles Credit, a licensed and reliable moneylender, offers competitive loan plans at low-interest rates. Visit their office today to check your best options, or apply online and get a free loan quote without commitment.