ANEXT Bank, a digital wholesale bank incorporated in Singapore and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ant International, reinforced its commitment to reimagine financial services for financial inclusion with the launch of its ANEXT programme for industry specialists (API) repository.
The bank also welcomed three new platform partners onboard the programme – DeliveryChinatown, Hong Xin Da and Shopmatic. By working with these new partners, ANEXT Bank aims to make financing more accessible to more than one million regional small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) within the year.
Access to financing amongst SME continues to be a key challenge for their growth and business operations. In a recent survey, ANEXT Bank found that 84% of Singapore SME have plans to take up more financing in 2024, with the top three uses being to alleviate cashflow pressures from rising cost of goods, inflation and macro headwinds, digital transformation and to increase their product range and inventory. Yet, one-third of SME surveyed still find it difficult to get access to financing due to their business not meeting the requirements of existing financing options, lack of financing options or loan amounts not meeting their business needs.
Toh Su Mei, CEO, ANEXT Bank, said: “We recognise the diverse needs of SME and believe that the way to alleviate the various stress and spillover effect from the macro environment is to work very closely with industry partners who have a first-hand view of their customers’ pain points. Having run the ANEXT programme for industry specialists for a year, we’ve been able to apply the learnings and deliver new embedded financial services solutions via our new partners. The goal is to anticipate and deliver precise support to as many SME across the region as possible.”
ANEXT Bank first launched the ANEXT programme for industry specialists in 2022 to strengthen the overall financing ecosystem for SME through collaboration with industry specialists, allowing SME to have a one-stop access to a more comprehensive suite of services. The enhanced programme now extends beyond financing – partners are able to also avail interest-bearing offerings, for example allowing their customers to earn interest on their wallet balances, or placing fixed deposits.
Qiu Kai, chief technology officer, ANEXT Bank, said: “As more industry specialists reach out to understand what our tried and tested API solutions can do for their business and their SME customers, we decided it was time to launch the API repository. As we work with different partners, most of whom are SME themselves, it was important to make it easier and quicker to offer ANEXT Bank’s financial services. As an example, our partners are able to go live two times quicker than the industry standard for a basic financing module via the programme. This open collaboration approach in turn, helps to scale SME’s access to financial services.”
Besides being able to avail some of ANEXT Bank’s products that are most well received in the market amongst SME, especially micro and growing businesses, the API repository also includes secure bank grade solutions like customer onboarding and authentication.
Open collaboration approach with API’s latest partners to serve diverse SME needs DeliveryChinatown, is a food delivery services platform headquartered in Singapore with a presence in Southeast Asia used by over 700 restaurants and eateries in Singapore. Through the partnership, DeliveryChinatown aims to support these SME's ambitions to expand their physical presence, and by way of that, expanding their business footprint and orders.
Alex Tian, CEO, DeliveryChinatown, said: “Our platform, DeliveryChinatown, supports the ordering and delivery requirements of restaurants and eateries in Southeast Asia. Our orders from our targeted segment are generally high in volume and value, and we know financing can help expand their operations. When we came across the ANEXT Programme, we knew we wanted to partner ANEXT Bank to enhance our value proposition and attract new customers by letting our customers get financing directly plus manage the loan through our platform.”
Hong Xin Da, an importer of F&B supplies with more than 4,000 supermarket and F&B buyers, noticed that their customers are splitting their orders as a way to help with cashflow management. To alleviate their customers’ stress on day-to-day operations, Hong Xin Da will offer micro loans similar to a 'pay later' model via the API and hopes to expand regionally with this stronger proposition.
Ji Haikun, CEO, Hong Xin Da, said: “Cashflow is the lifeblood of every SME, and we want buyers on our platforms to be able to expand without feeling squeezed. This is our customers’ pain point we wanted to address with ANEXT Bank, having seen what they can do from the programme launch. We are now working together to avail financing directly at point of check out – buyers get close to two months to pay off the invoices at no extra cost.”
Shopmatic, a leading global e-commerce platform with more than a million users sees its merchants requiring short-term financing to kickstart their business as most are new business owners. Through the API, Shopmatic wants to help business owners save time and hassle by allowing them to apply for financing from as low as SGD 5,000 ($3,673), up to SGD 300,000 ($220,391), directly within the Shopmatic platform.
On this partnership, Nicole Poon, chief operating officer, Shopmatic, said: “At Shopmatic, we recognise the unique financial challenges that emerging businesses face. By teaming up with ANEXT Bank who shares the same innovative DNA and goals of enabling SME's growth, we’re taking a significant step towards making sophisticated financial solutions more straightforward and accessible directly on Shopmatic Pay. Our merchants on the Shopmatic platform now get to access funds easily for setting up their business, managing inventory reorders and running marketing campaigns to grow their online business. Our goal is to ensure that every business, regardless of its size, has the resources it needs to thrive and flourish in the ever-evolving competitive e-commerce landscape.”
ANEXT Bank continues to address underserved SME financing needs
Since its launch in June 2022, ANEXT Bank had set out to make financial services accessible and effortless for SME, especially for micro and growing businesses. The bank is staying true to its mission and its customer base is reflective of its efforts:
• Being the first to launch remote onboarding for SME which enables the bank to better support regional SME – to date, the bank counts 31% of its customers as foreign business owners, made up of 44 different nationalities.
• Serving the underserved with 68% of the bank’s customers being micro SME (MSME), while 38% have been incorporated for less than two years.
•Easy access to financing with loans starting as low as SGD5,000 ($3,673) - 56% of ANEXT business loan customers are MSME.
• Supporting SME's internationalisation, ANEXT Bank saw an average 40% monthon-month increase in cross-border transactions.
The ANEXT programme for industry specialists welcomes more like-minded partners, including e-commerce solution providers, delivery and services platforms, trade and procurement platforms, and payment services platforms to collectively reimagine financial services for SME to enable their growth. SME can also nominate platforms that they are doing business on to partner with ANEXT Bank.
Re-disseminated by The Asian Banker