FIS enables real-time payments for Singapore's Trust Bank

FIS enables real-time payments for Singapore’s Trust Bank.Source – Shutterstock

ANEXT Bank scales financial inclusion for SMEs with a new initiative

  • The ANEXT Program for Industry Specialists seeks to increase the accessibility of digital financial services through embedded finance partnerships
  • The program’s initial participants are IN Financial Technologies and Bizmann System, enabling 15,000 SMEs to access finance easily

Financial inclusion is essential for Asia and the Pacific to promote sustainable development and economic progress. Access to financial services can boost well-being by reducing poverty, promoting entrepreneurship, and facilitating economic activities. Financial inclusion helps nations’ economies flourish and lessens income inequality.

Governments and the private sector have significantly improved access to formal financial services in light of these substantial advantages.

Technological innovation has been one of the biggest changes in finance for the past decades. Given the speed at which the COVID-19 pandemic expedited digital transformation, this is hardly surprising.

The delivery of traditional financial services using smartphones, tablets, and computers means people can conduct transactions remotely, enabling those excluded from formal financial systems to participate in the formal economy.

The good news is that Southeast Asia is well-positioned to gain from the new instruments made available by the digitalization of financial services to address these enduring hurdles to financial inclusion.

In most Southeast Asian nations, the use of mobile phones has greatly exceeded the use of credit cards or bank accounts. For instance, only around half of the people in Indonesia have a bank account, while about 75% of the population in that country have a mobile phone.

Initiative to drive sustainable financial inclusion

As part of its commitment to making possible easy and accessible financing for SMEs, ANEXT Bank, a digital wholesale bank founded in Singapore and a fully-owned subsidiary of Ant Group, launched its most recent initiative to foster additional industry collaboration. The program seeks to enhance and scale embedded finance for SMEs, making it simpler for companies to receive financing as well as track and manage it on platforms where they conduct business.

All e-commerce platforms, fintech firms, and digital solutions providers who help SMEs’ cross-border operations through digital-based services or platforms are eligible to participate in the ANEXT Program for Industry Specialists. Together, ANEXT Bank and these sector experts will broaden the services provided to SMEs on their platforms by integrating ANEXT Bank’s digital financial services.

This will give SMEs a single point of access to a wider range of services and a consolidated view of their company’s finances, including account balance, loan amount, and repayment status, among other information.

According to Toh Su Mei, Chief Executive Officer of ANEXT Bank, the company is in a good position to help partners maximize growth opportunities by facilitating access to financing for SMEs on their platforms. This is because ANEXT Bank has secure banking capabilities and first-hand knowledge of what it takes to conduct business online.

“At the same time, industry specialists are domain experts in their respective fields and they can provide deep insights on the challenges and needs of SMEs. Together, we can create unique use cases and solve financing pain points for SMEs at scale,” she added.

Working with business partners

When they announced the soft launch after receiving MAS’s license to start doing business on June 2nd this year, this endeavor became viable. It has established a presence that will focus on offering digital financial services to local and regional micro, small, and medium-sized businesses, particularly those engaging in international business for expansion and growth.

The company added that they will provide loans to smaller businesses starting at SG$5,000 and up to SG$100,000 if customers choose a revolving credit line. Customers can also use IN Financial Technologies and Bizmann System to apply for loans from ANEXT Bank.

Among the first to participate in the initiative are the fintech company IN Financial Technologies and the business process management service provider Bizmann System. Together, the two partners provide services to about 15,000 SMEs.

ANEXT Bank believes in working with business partners and government organizations to offer SMEs financial services that are easier, safer, and more rewarding. This strategy is open and collaborative. In June of this year, ANEXT Bank and Proxtera inked a two-year MoU to revolutionize and promote holistic cross-border trade among SMEs and businesses by enhancing marketplace efficiency and global discoverability, with embedded finance, fulfilment services, and SME empowerment.