Friday, August 7

UOB, OctoRocket sign MOU to help finance Asean businesses

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(From left) Loh and Tan signing a Memorandum of Understanding to help small businesses in Asean on OctoRocket to apply for financing quickly and easily.

KUCHING: United Overseas Bank (UOB) and OctoRocket.asia (OctoRocket), a business to business e-commerce platform, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enable small businesses in Asean on OctoRocket to apply for financing quickly and easily.

OctoRocket, a joint venture launched in January by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and Y3 Technologies, enables cross-border trade between suppliers and buyers from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. For a start, OctoRocket is helping 30 suppliers in the region’s packaged food industry to sell more than 600 types of food products such as snacks, instant noodles, canned food, sauces, condiments and beverages.

Under the MOU, UOB will enable small businesses that use OctoRocket for at least six months to apply for financing directly via the online platform. Instead of relying on the company’s financial statements, the Bank will assess the applicant’s creditworthiness based on its transactional data on OctoRocket, using a credit assessment engine developed by Avatec.ai.

The engine harnesses the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to gain insights into the applicant’s cashflow and day-to-day operations, determining the applicant’s credit quality quickly and with more certainty. This will enable the Bank to cut the time taken for loan approvals from an average of 2.5 days to just 15 minutes.

Typically, small businesses need to submit two years’ worth of financial statements and six months’ worth of bank statements when applying for financing. Through the UOB and OctoRocket collaboration, small businesses will be able to use the time spent on compiling these documents manually to focus on growing their businesses instead. In addition, small businesses no longer need to wait two years before being eligible for a loan.

Lawrence Loh, Head of Group Business Banking, UOB, said, “Small businesses, which comprise nearly 99 per cent of total enterprises in Asean, form the backbone of the region’s economy. Given the important role in they play in the economy, we want to help them drive efficiencies to grow their business effectively. Helping them save time for optimal use is one way.

“This is why we collaborated with OctoRocket to make it seamless and almost effortless for all businesses on the e-commerce platform to apply for financing. Through our AI-driven credit assessment engine which analyses traditional and alternative sets of data to assess a business’ creditworthiness faster and more accurately, businesses on OctoRocket will enjoy faster loan approvals. This will benefit e-commerce buyers and sellers who may need the credit to seize business opportunities quickly as they arise.”