KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 17 — A survey conducted by Maybank involving its small and medium enterprise (SME) customers has revealed that 67 per cent of the respondents have leveraged digital technology into its sales platform during the Movement Control Order (MCO) 3.0.

The survey was undertaken in September and October 2021 and made up 84 per cent of Maybank’s borrowing SME customers.

In a statement today, the bank said the various MCOs and social distancing measures have steered SMEs to reorganise their business models, moving their operations online and adopting various social media platforms to remain in business and overcome disruptions.

However, despite opportunities offered by digital technologies, the survey shows that the remaining 33 per cent of SMEs were unable to adopt digital technology due to factors such as the nature of their businesses not being suitable for online platforms, lack of technical knowledge, and high cost of implementation.

“The survey also revealed that during MCO 3.0, SMEs experienced diverse business challenges as a result of the large-scale economic disruptions,” it said.

The bank said the challenges include a drop in demand (34 per cent), a delay in receivables (31 per cent), a shortage or delay in obtaining supplies (18 per cent), adapting to new operations and processes (11 per cent), and insufficient workforce (6 per cent).

In terms of impact to sales during MCO 3.0, it said 61 per cent of respondents experienced a decrease in sales, 25 per cent saw sales remain unchanged while 14 per cent reported better sales due to their agility in business strategy and quick response to market needs.

“The survey also found 99.6 per cent of the respondents were still operating, although 21.2 per cent had to temporarily close during MCO 3.0, while only 0.4 per cent had permanently ceased operations,” it said.

The main respondents of the survey were from sectors such as wholesale and retail trade, real estate, manufacturing, and construction.

Maybank group chief executive officer of community financial services Datuk John Chong said the bank would offer its SMEs appropriate help to leverage the reopening of the economy and to meet the pent-up demand that is expected in the coming months with the data obtained from the survey.

“The bank continues to assist SME customers by extending additional loans to support their growth momentum and providing fast access to loans by Credit Guarantee Corporation schemes and also Syarikat Jaminan Pembiayaan Perniagaan guarantees as well as by offering digital solutions,” he said.

For customers unable to pay their commitments, he said Maybank could assist in leveraging government-aided funds to extend the servicing of loans, as well as provide other financial alternatives and digital solutions. — Bernama