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SMEs Are Untapped Opportunities For The Banking & Finance Industry


A joint study conducted by Deloitte and Visa have shown that in the ASEAN (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand) region, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have limited access to financing. Despite playing a critical economic role in ASEAN, this segment is still relatively untapped for banks and other financial institutions. It was also pointed out that new business models offered by banks and fintech startups can address SME’s financial and non-financial needs.


In ASEAN, SMEs contribute between 30% – 60% of the country’s GDP and contributed 60% – 90% of employment to their workforce. But despite that less than 60% of the SMEs have access to bank loans and around 50% are unserved or underserved by financial institutions.


As local SMEs are increasingly facing liberalised trade and investment, and having to operate in an extremely competitive economic environment, it is important for them to have a better cash flow management, access to external financing and more efficient payments system. All these are business opportunities that can aid banks and financial institutions to increase their business revenue.


However, all these business opportunities are not all accessible to the banks and financial institutions. SMEs have specific needs and constraints. Banks and financial institutions are facing competition from challenger banks that are more likely to target and engage with this market.


To tap on this opportunity, it is important that banks need to leverage on digital solutions providers and form strategic partnerships with key innovators. It is required of them understand the changing needs of SMEs, in order to form solutions that can be the perfect answer to their financial needs.


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