Business Loans

COVID-19: What To Do If Your Application for ESG's SME Working Capital Loan and Temporary Bridging Loan is Rejected

Eric Koh
April 21, 2020

This is a continuation of our previous article, where we highlighted 10 Reasons Why Your Application for ESG’s SME Working Capital Loan was Rejected.

As mentioned previously, while the Singapore government genuinely aims to support SMEs through this economically challenging period, they do not set the credit parameters for the participating financial institutions (PFIs) disbursing the government-backed SME Working Capital Loan (EFS-WCL) or Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP).

We believe that this is because the government wants to encourage financial institutions to still practice responsible lending, even though the government provides a massive 90% risk-sharing for any defaults (the only other time this happened was during the 2009 global financial crisis).

In this article, we explore 3 options for SMEs if they are rejected by at least one PFI.

1. Try Again (with different PFIs)

Based on experience, SMEs will usually apply with the financial institution of their operating bank accounts first. Many of them do that because they believe that this is the institution that they have a “relationship” with, that has their account records, and will most likely help them. 

However, we feel that this was only true decades ago. Based on experience, “relationships” matter less these days as banking becomes less personal and more data-driven.

On the other hand, this also means that if you have the right financial data, other banks/financial institutions will be keen to support your financing needs, even if you do not have existing relationships with them. 

For example, if your company fails to possess the minimum revenue requirement for one financial institution/bank, don’t be discouraged as there are other institutions that may be able to accept these lower revenue figures. has consolidated a list of minimum requirements. Contact us to find out more!

2. Try Alternative Sources of Funding

As mentioned above, in order for PFIs to continue lending responsibly, they may have not have lowered their criteria evaluation criteria for new business loans significantly.

SMEs that were able to qualify for bank loans before COVID-19 will be eligible for the new government-backed loans. However, we find that SMEs that possess less-than-satisfactory financial records and were not eligible for bank loans before COVID-19, remain ineligible for these government-backed loans for now. 

Our previous article 10 Reasons Why Your Application for ESG’s SME Working Capital Loan was Rejected addresses some of the reasons for rejection.

If your company is in this situation, you may have to accept the fact and seek alternative sources of funding. These sources typically have lower maximum quantums, higher interest rates and shorter loan tenures. 

In Singapore, there are other lenders such as non-bank financial institutions (Hong Leong, IFS Capital), peer-to-peer lenders (Funding Societies, Validus Capital) and private lenders (Airguide Capital, Affinity Financial Services) that complement the local financing ecosystem.

Lendingpot’s Business Loan Marketplace has a network of 47 active partner financing institutions, which includes banks, non-bank financial institutions, peer-to-peer lenders and private lenders that you can apply to with one financing application.

Other than alternative lenders, there are also some private funds set up to extend credit to promising SMEs such as the Minterest Help Fund and the Helping Our Promising Enterprises (Hope) Fund. However, do note that the basic criteria to qualify for these funds are quite high, as they require SMEs to be GST-registered. That means that only SMEs with more than $1 million in revenue will be eligible for it, as companies with less than $1 million in revenue are usually not GST-registered.

3. Engaging a Loan Broker or Loan Consultant

If these two options do not work, you may want to hire a business loan consultant who will do a deep dive into your financial data and records. 

They will usually recommend a course of action that will improve the eligibility of your company. But these suggestions may not improve your eligibility instantly; and some recommendations, such as improving your cash flow and bank account statement, may take up to 6 months. 

Be sure to ask your loan consultant/broker these questions pertaining to their scope of service and payment before engaging them!


We hope that these suggestions are helpful to SME owners who have encountered difficulty in obtaining the government-backed EFS-WCL and TBLP, especially when the interest rates for these loans have been reduced by more than 50%.

As part of the Lendingpot team, we are ready to extend our support and assist SMEs in matters pertaining to business loans.

Together, we will be able to overcome this.

Request for a Business Loan Now! operates a Business Loan Marketplace that allows an SME to connect to multiple lenders with just one application, allowing the SME to know who its prospective lenders are and the rates that they offer, in a very short time.

Leading digital loan marketplace Lendingpot connects SMEs to its network of 45 lenders comprising relationship managers from banks, financial institutions, and private and peer-to-peer lenders in Singapore. It aims to help SMEs overcome the information asymmetry problem and lack of transparency prevalent in the SME financing sector by offering SMEs financing options such as business term loans, property loans, revenue-based financing, credit lines, working capital loans, bridging loans, invoice financing, and more.

About the author

Eric Koh is passionate about helping SMEs grow and has spent years interacting with business owners at OCBC and IFS Capital. He is interested in 70s rock ‘n roll, the odd novel and copious amounts of historical trivia.

SME Working Capital Loan
temporary bridging loan

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