ANEXT Bank empowers SMEs by redefining financial inclusion

Since its launch in 2022, ANEXT Bank has become a prominent player in Singapore’s digital banking landscape.

A wholly owned subsidiary of Ant Group, this fintech giant has taken the reins of digital banking, promoting financial inclusion and empowering micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Its offerings aim to address the financial challenges these businesses face and support their growth in this digital age.

Here’s how the bank has grown and made a lasting impact on the SME sector over the past year.

Providing affordable financing to underserved SMEs

Although Singapore has a highly banked population, studies have shown that MSMEs in the city-state are severely underbanked, despite accounting for about 99 percent of all firms in Singapore.

The global tightening of monetary conditions is also not making things easier for these businesses, especially when it comes to access to financing. “According to the data of the World Bank. [financing] This is the second most prominent barrier for SMEs to grow their business in emerging markets and developing countries,” said Toh Soo Mei, CEO of ANEXT Bank.

This is why the bank introduced its ANEXT business loan last November, which offers a fuss-free and flexible unsecured financing solution. This initiative simplifies the loan application process and specifically caters to the needs of SMEs.

Minimum loan amount starts from S$5,000 and no documents are required for loans below S$30,000.

Toh Su Mei, General Manager of ANEXT Bank

In addition to business loans, it also offers a comprehensive suite of financial services and expertise, including consulting services that are vital to fast-growing startups like BRB Selfcare, which provides anonymous mental health therapy.

ANEXT Bank’s offerings have fueled business growth, enabling them to successfully navigate the complexities of expanding their business. In addition, BRB Selfcare has also managed to streamline its cash flow management and financial operations.

“Having a banking partner that understands the unique needs and challenges of startups like ours is invaluable to our growth,” said Joylyn Tan, co-founder of BRB Selfcare.

Emerging financial services to serve digital-first businesses

ANEXT Bank CEO Toh Soo Mei
Toh Su Mei, CEO of ANEXT Bank/ Image Credit: ANEXT Bank

As COVID-19 moves towards digitalization, the ANEXT program for industry professionals focuses on the changing dynamics of business models that adopt hybrid and digital-first approaches.

Launched back in November, the program is a B2B solution that aims to empower SMEs by enabling them to access financing solutions through a range of industry partners.

As the program continues to develop, the bank is actively partnering with e-commerce marketplaces, fintech companies and digital solution providers to support cross-border activities of SMEs.

As business models move towards hybrid and digital first, so must financial services to evolve and be where SMEs do business digitally.

We believe innovation can accelerate at scale when we join with like-minded industry and public sector partners to drive transformation and create greater value for SMEs.

– Toh Su Mei, Executive Director of ANEXT Bank

Prominent partners, including key industry leaders such as fintech firm IN Financial Technologies and business process management provider Bizmann System, have joined the program to benefit the staggering 15,000 SMEs they serve.

Furthermore, the bank’s extensive network has proven to be a catalyst for success, as exemplified by the experience of BRB Selfcare.

According to Joylin, ANEXT Bank provided the startup with a gateway to connect with potential partners, investors and industry experts, which later “opened doors for strategic partnerships” and expanded its reach.

Redefining financial inclusion for all SMEs

ANEXT bank
Image Credit: ANEXT Bank

But for those who are not so digitally savvy, the bank also offers inclusive and affordable solutions for easy access to finance in line with its aim to redefine financial inclusion. Its customers today include businesses from sectors that are not typically digital, such as the retail industry, as well as the building and construction industry.

We’ve been clear from the start when we set out to redefine financial engagement to deliver securely affordable and easy solutions.

This way, business owners, regardless of their industry or digital competence, can access funding easily and without worry.

– Toh Su Mei, Executive Director of ANEXT Bank

One of the ways the bank achieves this is through its simple and streamlined deposit process. Businesses incorporated in Singapore can initiate their ANEXT Business Account application online with their Corppass credentials, which automatically pre-populate their application with the relevant information.

User-friendly digital services offered by the bank have helped many customers, including BRB Selfcare. In fact, it has allowed the startup to focus on its core mission of providing therapy while relying on ANEXT Bank for simple yet affordable financial services.

ANEXT Bank also goes the extra mile by incorporating enhanced security measures into its services, such as its three-factor authentication feature that uses facial recognition to authenticate transactions. By prioritizing the security of SMEs, ANEXT Bank not only simplifies their financial interactions, but also instills confidence in the integrity and security of their transactions.

In addition to supporting businesses regardless of their digital competence, the bank also supports the expansion of foreign businesses in Singapore to boost the city-state’s local economy.

In fact, ANEXT Bank is the first bank in Singapore to provide remote, virtual onboarding services for those overseas who have a registered business in Singapore. By using these services, foreign entrepreneurs can easily set up their business, minimizing both time and cost.

Establishing closer cooperation with SMEs

Today, 78 percent of ANEXT Bank’s business account clients are micro businesses. Furthermore, a staggering 51 percent of ANEXT Bank’s business loan customers are SMEs, reinforcing the bank’s vital role in supporting these businesses.

By understanding and addressing the unique challenges faced by MSMEs, ANEXT Bank has positioned itself as a trusted partner for their growth and success.

In line with their commitment to serve the evolving needs of these businesses, the bank has now introduced a new initiative, ANEXT’s SME Friends. This innovative program enables ANEXT Bank to work more closely with SMEs, allowing them to gain a deeper understanding of the pain points and challenges these businesses face.

Although ANEXT Bank has already made significant progress on its journey to support MSMEs, digital banking is far from complete. Riding a wave of positive monthly growth, the digital bank aims to double down on its customer-centric approach. This includes their efforts to create financial solutions that meet the needs of SMEs, as well as being technological and innovative to offer their customers a secure and simple user experience. .

Furthermore, ANEXT Bank aims to expand its services to benefit more regional SMEs. Taking advantage of the growing and interconnected digital economy, ANEXT Bank aims to empower these businesses with the opportunities and advantages offered by global markets.

Featured image credit: ANEXT Bank

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