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5 Things to Know Before You Apply for a SME Business Loan

You’re finally ready.

You’ve struggled through your fair share of ups and downs, and you’ve pushed past a lot of uncertainty. Through it all, your business idea persevered, and you believe that you are now ready to take your small or medium enterprise to the next level.

All you need is a little bit of financing, and what better way to get that than through a SME Business Loan?

But before you dive right into your loan applications, we’d like you to know that we’re rooting for you – which is why we’ve prepared a little list below of important things to keep in mind when seeking out an SME Business Loan. Sink your teeth into it right now!

1. Official SME Status

Is your business officially recognised as a Small or Medium Enterprise (SME)?

According to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), for a business entity to be recognised as a SME, it should fall within the following parameters:

ManufacturingMaximum sales turnover of RM50 million
Maximum of 200 full-time employees
Service and other sectorsMaximum sales turnover of RM20 million 
or Maximum of 75 full-time employees

Additionally, your SME should also be registered as an entity of such a nature under Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM). Only then will its status as an SME be officially recognised, and this recognition is a make-or-break part of your SME Business Loan application.

2. Operating Time

An important criteria to be met in order for you to receive Small Business Financing from SME Bank – which was established specially by the Malaysian Ministry of Finance to assist SMEs – is that your business must have at least two years of operation under its belt.

The same criteria is also stated under RHB Group’s requirements for its BIZPOWER SME Business Loan and SME Financing Online schemes.

It is thus recommended that your business operates for more than two whole years, with propers records of operation being documented during that period, before you apply for an SME Business Loan.

3. Equity or Ownership

SME Corp. Malaysia advises that for a Malaysian SME to receive funding in the form of soft loans, a majority of its equity must belong to a Malaysian or Malaysians who are currently residing in Malaysia.

Specifically speaking, this body states that at least 60% of the business’ equity must be owned by Malaysians. This requirement can also be observed in other financing providers, such as in CIMB’s SME Loans – although the minimum ownership percentage in this case is only 51%.

4. Maximum Loan Amount

Knowing each loan’s maximum limit will allow you to apply for a source of financing that truly meets the financial needs of your business.

The maximum amount differs from one loan to the next depending on a variety of factors, such as the purpose of the loan.

For example, AmBank’s SME Portfolio Guarantee is a flexible loan that has a maximum cap of RM1 million, while its SME Biz Property Extra loan – which caters to SME owners who are looking to purchase properties for their businesses – has a cap of 148% of an asset’s value.

Another factor which affects the maximum amount would be the presence of a collateral. In the example above,  the former option does not require a collateral and is thus smaller in size, while the latter can only be obtained with a guaranteed collateral from borrowers.

5. Loan Tenure

You may already be aware of this, but there is no harm in reminding yourself that loan tenure periods vary in accordance with the amount of money they involve.

For illustration, if you apply for Affin Bank’s SME Financing Scheme loan and obtain the maximum funding amount of RM10 million, you will have to complete your loan repayment within 20 years from the date on which you receive the money.

However, do keep in mind that you will not only be repaying the amount you borrowed within the tenure period. Interest rates will be involved, and you should clarify what the exact rate of a loan is before applying for it.


Towards better borrowing!

Now that you have taken note of these five key components of any SME Business Loan, get your research started and secure yourself a loan that matches your business requirements comfortably.

Don’t forget to keep your future plans for your business in mind as well when applying, as a business that is planning to expand globally will probably require more financing than one that is planning to stay on local shores.





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