Hong Kong-based Hang Seng Bank has on Tuesday unveiled the HKD 33 Billion ($4.22 billion) SME Power Up Fund, a strategic initiative to support the growth, cross-boundary development, and sustainable progression of Hong Kong’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The bank said in a statement that as Hong Kong’s largest local bank, it serves nearly a quarter of local SMEs.

It noted that over half of its SME customers have sustained partnerships exceeding a decade, and more than 60 percent of new customers are start-up ventures.

It is noted that Hang Seng has gained deep insight into the trials SMEs confront in the post-pandemic environment through direct engagement with clients across various industries.

These challenges range from inadequate cash flow, hard-to-regain business momentum, escalating operational expenses, the necessity for eco-friendly practices, and aspirations to grow within the Greater Bay Area.

In response to the feedback gathered from diverse business sectors, it opined that the establishment of the SME Power Up Fund s a proactive step that corresponds with the Hong Kong government’s supportive measures for SMEs.

“As Hong Kong’s largest local bank, Hang Seng has a deep-rooted network and rich experience in nurturing SMEs,

“In the face of the intricate and dynamic business climate, it’s imperative for enterprises to not only adapt to new challenges but also enhance their sustainable practices,” said Regina Lee, Head of Commercial Banking of Hang Seng Bank.

According to her, the fund is the bank’s tangible commitment to SMEs, structured to complement the government’s supportive measures highlighted in the recent Budget.

“Our goal is to empower SMEs, supporting economic growth across Hong Kong,” she added.

According to the statement, the SME Power Up Fund includes an array of diversified loan offerings, including products like the 80 percent and 90 percent guarantee product under the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme, alongside specialized products such as Innobooster loan, trade finance, revolving loan, and environmentally friendly options like the SME green loan and social loan.

A key component is the SME Business Loan, tailored to address the diverse financial requirements of SMEs.

To complement the diverse loan options within the SME Power Up Fund, Hang Seng has also introduced a series of supporting services such as SME loan hotline, upgraded online loan application platform, boosting its digital capabilities to enhance customer accessibility and convenience.

In addition to the SME Power Up Fund, Hang Seng said it actively supports government and regulatory measures to assist SMEs.

The bank has taken steps to offer flexible payment options including partial principal repayment arrangement.

At the same time, it is engaging in pilot programs like the Commercial Data Interchange (CDI) and Interbank Account Data Sharing (IADS), allowing for streamlined data sharing among industry peers with customer consent, enhancing the overall banking experience for all.

It is noted that Hang Seng has also become the first local strategic partner bank to sign a memorandum of understanding with Cyberport and has adopted payment solutions from their startups to foster innovation among SMEs.

Additionally, Hang Seng is the city’s first bank to introduce a Commercial Banking e-Sign service for mainland customers and to extend its business banking remote account opening service to Hong Kong companies with mainland shareholders, thereby facilitating the growing business interactions in the Greater Bay Area.

Founded in 1933, Hang Seng is currently providing banking, investment and wealth management services to more than 3.9 million customers.

Its wholly owned subsidiary, Hang Seng Bank (China) Limited, operates a strategic network of outlets in almost 20 major cities in China.

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