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Linkflow Capital: SME Loan Interest Rates Spike to 8.16% in 2023, Average Loan Quantum Drops 42%

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Research by Linkflow Capital reveals significant tightening in SME financing accessibility in 2023

SINGAPORE 10 July 2024 – Linkflow Capital’s annual SME financing research shows a significant tightening of credit conditions for Singapore SMEs in 2023, with average loan quantum dropping 42% to $130,000 from $224,000 in 2021.

The study, based on data from 2,466 unique users of Linkflow Capital’s SME loan comparison portal, reveals that average business loan interest rates spiked to 8.16% in 2023, the highest in a decade and more than triple from the lowest rate of 2.50% recorded in 2020 during the pandemic.

“We are witnessing a marked shift in the SME financing environment, with the sharp rise in borrowing costs and decrease in loan quantum reflecting the challenging financing landscape SMEs faced in 2023,” said Benjamin Teo, spokesperson for Linkflow Capital. “This trend is driven by the unwinding of pandemic-era support measures and the broader high interest rate environment.”

Key findings from the 2023 survey include:

  • Increased Borrowing Costs: The average SME business loan interest rate reached a high of 8.16% per annum in 2023.
  • Reduced Loan Quantum: The average loan quantum approved decreased to $130,236 in 2023, continuing a downward trend from $184,345 in 2022.
  • Revenue profile of users improved slightly: Increased proportion of users in higher revenue brackets. 50% of users reported annual revenue below $300K (down from 57% in 2022).
  • Digital banks gaining traction: Digital banks’ share of loan origination within Linkflow’s platform rose to 17%, a more than 3-fold increase from 5% in 2022.

Looking ahead, Linkflow Capital expects interest rates to remain elevated throughout 2024, with a gradual decline potentially from mid-2025. The firm also anticipates the new digital banks to continue increasing their market share in SME lending, though unlikely to make a major dent to incumbent local banks’ loan books.

For detailed figures and data on Linkflow Capital’s research survey, visit https://smeloan.sg/blog/2023-sme-finance-accessibility-survey.

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