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OCBC takes big stake in micro-loan market

Companies as young as six months, and which meet the bank's criteria, can get up to S$100,000 in loans.

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"For companies as young as six months, we lend to them. This is something that is not done in the industry. Generally, for any bank to lend to any company, you must have at least two years of track record. But we are very prepared to go into it." - Eric Ong, OCBC's head of emerging business
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OCBC today has more than 50 per cent market share under this programme, and has lent to companies that are less than three years old. It sees double-digit growth ahead this year in this segment.

OCBC has taken significant market share in a micro-loan scheme where the government covers most of the risk involved in the loans, a senior banker told The Business Times.

Called the OCBC Business First Loan, the scheme, which comes under Spring Singapore's Micro Loan Progamme, was