Manila, Philippines – SME-centric financial platform Investree and banking-as-a-service company Netbank have recently announced a collaboration, targeted at supporting the development of SMEs across the Philippines. Through the partnership, Netbank allocated funds for Investree clients to support the initiatives that will be carried out in 2022 to contribute towards the Philippines’ economic growth, provision of new jobs, and paving the way for scaling up businesses.
In addition, Investree is awaiting its Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) permit to operate in Visayas and Mindanao which will allow the service to reach nationwide after being able to serve SMEs in Luzon Area providing convenient access to funds and marketplace platforms connecting SMEs and institutional investors.
The collaboration between Netbank and Investree aims to fill in the gap of local SME lending, which at the moment is very underserved in the Philippines. SME loans as a percentage of GDP is approximately 3%, compared to 37% in Thailand and other countries in the region. As a result, SMEs struggle to grow, slowing job creation and economic development.
According to Kok Chuan Lim, co-founder and CEO of Investree Philippines, they have been working with the team at Netbank since they obtained their license earlier this year to jointly develop services that will improve ease of use for their SME issuers and reduce credit risks for their note investors.
Lim also added that they are confident that their partnership will further enhance the adoption of crowdfunding as a viable working capital source for their SME clients.
“The COVID-19 crisis has taken a huge toll on small companies in the Philippines, businesses have been affected by lower sales and difficulty accessing inputs to reduced logistics services and clients not paying bills. To help SMEs bounce back from this, Investree and Netbank are collaborating to expand the loans to this critical sector,” Lim stated.
He added, “Providing account opening services and investing in crowdfunding services will allow Investree clients to finance their trade receivables, giving SMEs vital cash to accelerate their growth. This partnership also allows Investree to accelerate its growth and ultimately serve the underserved SME market.”
The collaboration between Investree and Netbank would also contribute to accelerating financial inclusion within the country.
Meanwhile, Jaymar G. Mendoza, co-founder and head of operations at Netbank, commented that they hope to support the efforts in increasing financial inclusion within the country.
“We aim to combine both expertise and flexibility that banking and fintech has to offer to create more impact for the market. The partnership between a regulated bank and an alternative lender is very powerful wherein the Banks bring balance sheet management experience and processes and the alternative lenders bring a deep understanding of their clients,” Mendoza added.
Lim further added, “With the support from Netbank, Investree Philippines will be harnessing the expertise and power of technology to give SMEs vital cash to accelerate their growth to increase financial inclusion and ultimately help the Philippines’ economy. Also, we would like to equally serve all the SMEs in the nation, therefore, inquiring about the permit to operate Visayas and Mindanao will allow us to do that. We would like to keep innovating and include more businesses in the Philippines.”