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HSBC paves way for SMEs to access receivables finance via Networked Trade Platform

HSBC on Tuesday said it has closed the first receivables financing deal on Singapore's Networked Trade Platform (NTP), paving the way for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access funding in just 15 minutes, down from a day traditionally.

The NTP, launched by the government in September 2018, is a platform which digitises paperwork to make government certification and third-party commercial services simpler.

HSBC's launch of the Receivables Finance programme on the NTP comes after the completion of a receivables financing transaction with Singapore-based SME, Exceltec Property Management, which is a property and facilities management company.

According to the bank, its latest development will enable SMEs to access and utilise receivables financing via the platform, while smoothing the complexities and manual processes needed for SMEs to obtain financing and support their cash flow needs. The launch is also in tandem with the bank's strategy to scale up its SME business in Singapore, HSBC said.

HSBC business banking customers who are signed up to NTP via its value-added service, vCargoCloud (VCC) CamelONE Trade Finance, will now be able to send receivables finance transactions directly to HSBC using CorpPass as a single-sign on, the lender said. "This provides a seamless experience for SMEs who choose to have the convenience of a single interface to reach out to multiple banks," HSBC noted.

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Benefits of HSBC's Receivables Finance programme include the widened use of the CamelONE Trade Finance portal on NTP, streamlined submissions and quicker access to finance, the lender said.

Receivables finance is a tool typically used by SMEs to obtain short-term finance based on issued invoices.

Up until now, CamelONE Trade Finance has facilitated the issuance of letters of credit and guarantees. Businesses reliant on receivables finance have had to apply directly to their bank, as opposed to on the NTP.

Historically, receivables finance submission also requires significant manual transfer of data, which can be time consuming, costly and incur errors, the lender noted.

"CamelONE Trade Finance is the latest platform for our customers to manage banking with HSBC digitally. Using application programming interfaces (APIs), HSBC can now process customer's digital transactions through CamelONE Trade Finance with no human intervention," HSBC said.

In addition, the programme also leverages the NTP's secure API communication as well as the industry's standardised trade messaging, such as digitised invoice data. As such, the time from submission to the approval of funding is significantly reduced from a day to 15 minutes.

Iain Morrison, head of global trade and receivables finance at HSBC Singapore, said: "SMEs are the lifeblood of Singapore's economy and they are also the businesses that are working on such tight operational margins...

"We've worked closely with NTP and VCC to integrate end-to-end API technology which will significantly expedite the financing process, a key determiner of operational continuity for SMEs who rely on the availability of immediate cash flow."

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