Ant digital wholesale bank Singapore offering small business loans

Ant Group Singapore digital wholesale will start offering loans to and medium-sized businesses, as the Chinese fintech giant extends its reach in the Republic.

Anext , which started its services in June, said it will give smaller companies loans ranging from $5,000 to $100,000. Customers can also apply for Anext Bank’s loans via IN Financial Technologies and Bizmann System.

Ant, an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding, is accelerating digital operations in South-east Asia, replicating strategies in China that catapulted its fintech operations to becoming the country’s biggest. The move could help Ant diversify business and generate growth amid regulatory headwinds at home.

The Chinese firm will be facing stiff competition. It is entering an arena dominated by traditional incumbents including DBS Bank and OCBC Bank.

Compared with credit offered by traditional banks, Ant’s AnextBank Loan baseline product does not require collateral. For credit of $30,000 and below, no documents are needed. The interest rate will start from 6.8 per cent per annum.

Ant was one of two groups to get a wholesale digital banking licence in December 2020, allowing it to serve smaller firms and other non-retail segments. It required a capital commitment of $100 million. A full digital bank licence, which can serve all kinds of customers, requires $1.5 billion in capital eventually as well as local control.

Anext Bank’s dual-currency deposit service went live in August. It takes US and Singapore dollars and includes remote on-boarding and daily interest.

Ant also started offering a service known as Alipay+ D-store that allows businesses to build digital stores across platforms including Chope, AlipayHK and Touch ‘n Go.

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