Saturday, 20 April 2024

Hang Seng Bank launches $4.2B SME Power up fund

5 min read

Hang Seng Bank (Hang Seng) unveiled the HKD 33 billion ($4.2 billion) SME Power up fund, a strategic initiative to support the growth, cross-boundary development, and sustainable progression of Hong Kong’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

As Hong Kong’s largest local bank, Hang Seng serves nearly a quarter of local SMEs. Over half of its SME customers have sustained partnerships exceeding a decade, and more than 60% of new customers are start-up ventures.

Hang Seng has gained deep insight into the trials SMEs confront in the post-pandemic environment through direct engagement with clients across various industries. These challenges range from inadequate cash flow, hard-to-regain business momentum, escalating operational expenses, the necessity for eco-friendly practices, and aspirations to grow within the Greater Bay Area.

In response to the feedback gathered from diverse business sectors, Hang Seng has allocated HKD 33 billion ($4.2 billion) for the establishment of the SME Power up fund. This move is a proactive step that corresponds with the Hong Kong government’s supportive measures for SMEs.

Regina Lee, head of commercial banking of Hang Seng Bank, said: “As Hong Kong’s largest local bank, Hang Seng has a deep-rooted network and rich experience in nurturing SMEs. In the face of the intricate and dynamic business climate, it’s imperative for enterprises to not only adapt to new challenges but also enhance their sustainable practices. The HKD 33 billion ($4.2 billion) SME Power up fund is our tangible commitment to SMEs, structured to complement the government’s supportive measures highlighted in the recent budget. Our goal is to empower SMEs, supporting economic growth across Hong Kong.”

The SME Power up fund includes an array of diversified loan offerings, including products like the 80% and 90% guarantee product under the SME Financing Guarantee scheme, alongside specialised products such as Innobooster loan, trade finance, revolving loan, and environmentally friendly options like the SME green loan and social loan. A key component is the SME business loan, tailored to address the diverse financial requirements of SMEs.

To complement the diverse loan options within the SME Power up fund, Hang Seng has introduced a series of supporting services, boosting its digital capabilities to enhance customer accessibility and convenience.

• SME loan hotline: Hang Seng launched the SME loan hotline (Tel: 2198 8033) on 11 March to provide dedicated assistance to SMEs for loan applications in a more efficient manner.
• Upgraded online loan application platform: Hang Seng is the first bank in Hong Kong to provide commercial customers with a fully digital loan application process.

The upgraded online platform features digital ID verification and e-Sign services, ensuring a quick and convenient experience from loan application to disbursement. To actively support the financial needs of SMEs, Hang Seng is offering pre-approved SME business loan to about 8,000 existing customers. This streamlined service does not require collateral or financial statements and can facilitate loan disbursement within as few as five days. Additionally, other SME customers can apply for loans through the Hang Seng business online application platform and receive approval-in-principle result in as fast as 10 seconds.

In addition to the SME Power up fund, Hang Seng actively supports government and regulatory measures to assist SMEs. The bank has taken steps to offer flexible payment options including partial principal repayment arrangement. At the same time, Hang Seng is engaging in pilot programmes like the Commercial Data Interchange  and Interbank Account Data Sharing, allowing for streamlined data sharing among industry peers with customer consent, enhancing the overall banking experience for all.

Hang Seng has also become the first local strategic partner bank to sign a memorandum of understanding with Cyberport and has adopted payment solutions from their startups to foster innovation among SMEs. Additionally, Hang Seng is proud to be the city’s first bank to introduce a commercial banking e-Sign service for mainland customers and to extend its business banking remote account opening service to Hong Kong companies with mainland shareholders, thereby facilitating the growing business interactions in the Greater Bay Area.

Re-disseminated by The Asian Banker

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