DBS First To Launch Micro-Loan Scheme

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Scheme Will Offer S$50,000 In Loans To Help SMEs Weather Current Economic Downturn

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New Initiative is Third In A Series Offered By DBS Enterprise Banking To Help SMEs

SINGAPORE, OCT 31 - Local businesses who need funds to finance their business will now be able to obtain up to S$50,000 in loans from DBS Bank under its "GROW WITH DBS" programme.

First to act on the new Local Enterprise Finance Scheme (LEFS) micro-loan programme introduced by the Productivity and Standards Board, DBS officials said it is prepared to grant these loans on an unsecured basis to entrepreneurs from November 1, 2001.

Local companies which have less than 10 employees, at least 30 per cent local shareholders and fixed asset investment of less than S$15 million can qualify for "GROW WITH DBS".

"In today's weak economic climate, many businesses are faced with various operational and survival challenges. The additional funds offered by "GROW WITH DBS" will help local companies upgrade their business to survive in the weak economic climate, and to be better prepared when the economy recovers," DBS' Head of Enterprise Banking, Hong Tuck Kun said.

"In addition, individuals who are thinking of setting up their own business now have an additional avenue to raise funds to give them that headstart."

DBS officials said the loan could be used not only for business start-ups, but also to purchase equipment, cover renovation expenses and meet working capital needs.

To make the application accessible to customers, DBS has set up a hotline at 65-878 6100 to answer customers' enquiries. Information and application forms can be obtained from its five business centres located in DBS Tampines Centre (2nd floor), DBS Jurong Branch (Corporation Drive), Woodlands Civic Centre (5th floor), The Bencoolen (12th floor) and Hong Lim Complex (above DBS branch).

The "GROW WITH DBS" programme is the third initiative unveiled by DBS this month as part of its efforts to help SMEs.

"There has been calls for more to be done to help SMEs ride out this trying period. DBS has been proactively working to put in place a series of initiatives and financial packages to help those affected. Taking a long-term view of our customer relationships, we will continue to nurture partnerships with our clients during this economic downturn," Hong said.

Last Tuesday (Oct 23), it launched a collateral-free financing package, called "IMPRESS", that makes it easier for SMEs to obtain loans in the current recession. Under the scheme, customers who have received sales orders can now raise working capital to pay for raw materials, supplies, labour and other overheads.

Earlier this month, DBS implemented a programme called "Gain with DBS" to help SME customers better manage their cost of operations. Under that programme, DBS will play an aggregator's role in leveraging on its huge purchasing volume to secure preferred pricing for SME customers for office essentials, helping them achieve at least 10 per cent in cost savings.

DBS Group Holdings Ltd is the holding company of DBS Bank and is the largest banking group in Southeast Asia. Ranked among the top banks in Asia, DBS Bank is a recognised leader in Internet banking and e-commerce. Beyond Singapore, DBS Group serves corporate, institutional and retail customers through subsidiaries and associated companies in Hong Kong, The Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, and international banking services through a network of overseas branches and offices. With its acquisition of Dao Heng Bank in June, 2001, DBS is the fourth largest bank in Hong Kong by assets.

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