Business Loans

Green Link Digital Bank (GLDB): What are they doing differently for SMEs?

Benjamin Lam
June 13, 2023

Alright, so we probably need some re-introduction to this wholesale digital bank, Green Link Digital Bank (GLDB). Unlike the other digital banks spun off from well-known digital giants like ANEXT Bank from ANT Group, Maribank from SEA Limited, and GXS from Grab and Singtel, GLDB is owned by Chinese Developer Greenland Group and HK supply chain financing platform Linklogis.

Placed in the same licensed class as ANEXT, GLDB has a wholesale banking license that allows them to bank with micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and non-retail clients. So, what makes them different from ANEXT and traditional banks?

Banking larger clients (no limit to revenue size)

Here’s a unique situation since digital banks are primarily built to help smaller MSMEs by providing them with better access to financial services at an affordable rate. This is achieved through better efficiencies by operating digitally. Therefore, GLDB’s strategy to target already bankable clients is quite different from its competitors. One of the ways it does this is by removing the hard segmentation that traditional banks use to evaluate their clients. While segmenting clients is a good way to streamline bank resources, it also silos companies into buckets instead of acknowledging that businesses are diverse and should be measured based on needs rather than revenue size.

The way traditional banks classify clients is as follows:

Therefore, Greenlink bank does not limit its banking products based on revenue size but rather on a product-need basis. This means that if a small revenue customer has a high-volume telegraphic transfer requirement, the company will be able to access that solution. Vice versa, if a larger commercial banking customer is only looking for a small loan, they can be placed on a program lending instead of going through the long, tedious process for their larger segment.

Best of all, there is no longer a problem with hard segmentation that traditional banks deal with. This happens when a customer is a dollar above or under the revenue requirement for a banking segment and is denied product availability because of that.

One small caveat we find disappointing is its loan product, which has a minimum revenue requirement of S$1 million, a far cry from ANEXT, which even supports clients with revenue as low as S$100,000.

Availing supply chain financing to smaller clients

Another interesting product offering that GLDB has is its supply chain financing program. This is an interesting play as they offer financing to suppliers of clients that are of smaller sizes. This includes customers who are within the S$50 – S$100 million in turnover range. Typically, the program offered by major banks is only available to large corporates with at least S$500 million in turnover. But GLDB, with its expertise in Linklogis, can work with a smaller program size to enable commercial-sized clients to grant credit to their suppliers. And in today’s volatile supply chain environment, access to funding is key to prevent supply chain disruptions and ensure price stability.

Again, another small caveat is that GLDB offers this program with recourse to the supplier, which means that the supplier is still liable for the financing but aided with the commercial client’s financial standing. While it helps the suppliers, the loan will still be on the supplier’s balance sheet, which might add to their gearing ratio.

Availing Trade Finance

Unlike its competitor ANEXT, which focuses on its simple 2 products revolving credit and term loan, GLDB offers trade facilities to provide better structure to their loan products. The two trade facilities are:

  • Payable Financing: Receive financing on your purchase invoices settled on an open account basis. The loan proceeds under Payables Financing are paid directly to your suppliers. Financing is post-shipment in nature and up to 100% of invoice value. Financing tenor may be up to 180 days.

  • Receivable Financing: Receive financing based on your sales invoices settled on an open account basis, thereby freeing up cash flows caught in receivables. Financing is post-shipment in nature and up to 90% of invoice value. Financing tenor may be up to 180 days.

What about their standard loan products and their requirements?

For standard loan products, they have both overdrafts where you pay interest only on the amount you use and an unsecured term loan that goes up to a maximum of 2 years. They also offer a Micro Term loan, which is unsecured with amounts up to S$300,000.

How do they fare on the digital scale?

Here’s the most important question on how they are doing things differently digitally. We rate them on two fronts:

  1. Documentary Requirements
    There aren't many improvements from traditional players as the six-month bank statement is still a requirement. At the same time, they require more documents like financial statements and GST returns. That means their requirements are more than traditional banks. That’s quite a far cry from ANEXT, which can do zero docs for loan size less than S$30,000.
  2. Speed
    As for speed, there is also no instant approval status provided like ANEXT. It seems like regardless of the loan size, the loans are still assessed manually (perhaps slightly supported by some system). This may not necessarily be a bad thing as it means it provides more flexibility in terms of approvals.

Summary

All in all, more competition is always good for the industry, and GLDB definitely has its value add to the SME community despite some "less digital features". Nonetheless, it has only been less than a year since they launched, which is already something to be lauded given that GXS and Maribank are still behind their launch. This will probably not be the last we hear of GLDB, and we're sure there will be nimble changes made along the way.

How to apply?

We at Lendingpot are excited about GLDB’s new product launch and greatly anticipate the impact that they can bring to the SME community. At the same time, we look forward to other digital banks to see what exciting new developments they can also bring to the table. Want to find out more about the available financing options for SMEs? Arrange a chat with us, and we will be happy to help.

Lendingpot | Compare against 45 lenders and choose the right loan for your business. Apply Now.

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

Benjamin heads up Lendingpot with a background in all things SME. He was previously a commercial banker at Citi with experience in Relationship management, Credit Risk, Trade Operations and Corporate FX sales; and understands the difficulties SMEs face in this opaque world of SME financing.

Green Link Digital Bank
GLDB
Digital Bank
supply chain financing
overdraft
unsecured business term loan

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