SME lending just got more expensive in Singapore. Basel III capital requirements has increased the risk weighting on SME loans. Banks are now required to set aside more capital to protect against SME loan defaults. This will drive up the cost of capital for SME’s as lenders pass on added costs to borrowers to maintain healthy margins on SME loans; Singapore’s Business Times reports.
SME’s are a critical driver of economic growth in Singapore. Bank loans to the segment grew more than 10% in 2013. At DBS Bank, SME lending produced a $1.8 billion increase in revenue.
The Government of Singapore has long been friendly to SME's and remains committed to support the segment as a keystone to the economic recovery of this vibrant Asian Tiger. The government has maintained a risk sharing program to guarantee 50% of an SME loan. Due to the increase in the loan loss reserves mandated by Basel III; the government will now increase its risk share to 70%. It is hoped that this will protect the the flow of capital to SME's.
This regulatory initiative is another example of the compounding macroeconomic risk factors confronting SME’s. Shifts in credit market conditions and healthy functioning credit channels are major risk factors for SME’s. Acute macro risk, forces market players to compete for capital during restrictive business cycles. SME’s must assess macroeconomic risk factors surrounding the capital funding landscape to maintain profitability.
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risk: sme lending, regulatory, credit risk, Basel III, Singapore, DBS Bank, OCBC, UOB, macroeconomic risk, Strait Times, Singapore Business Times, government spending