SINGAPORE (May 2): United Overseas Bank (UOB) says it has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with a number of co-working spaces – namely Singapore’s 80RR Fintech Hub SG, Common Ground and WORQ in Malaysia, and Indonesia’s EV Hive – to offer its banking customers up to 20% off these companies’ rental rates.  

See: More space for fintech startups at 80RR

In a Wednesday announcement, the bank says this would help its customers, starting from startups to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to establish a presence more easily across Southeast Asia with preferential rental rates at co-working spaces.

The latest tie-ups add to UOB’s existing partnership with co-working space Toong in Vietnam, to make up a total of 33 co-working spaces in the region.

According to the bank, the initiative addresses one of the top constraints to businesses’ cross-border expansion – managing the set-up costs associated with expanding overseas – by offering businesses more flexibility in lease duration, and helping them to avoid the upfront costs of renovation and setting up utility or internet services.  

UOB adds that since its tie-up with Toong, the initiative has seen businesses in the co-working community benefit through mutual cooperation and being kept abreast of the latest innovations created within the co-working space community.

Aside from co-working spaces, UOB says it intends to help its business customers’ expansion plans by offering them tailored financial solutions such as loans, cash management and trade financing products.

Companies can also access alternative financing options through the UOB’s existing partnerships with equity crowdfunding and venture debt firms, OurCrowd and InnoVen Capital, respectively.

“By using co-working spaces offered by our network of partners, our customers will be able to set up their operations in a new market in a fast, flexible and cost-effective way,” says Janet Young, Head of Group Channels and Digitalisation, UOB, of the recently-signed MoUs.

“Through our partnerships with co-working space providers, our customers will be able to benefit from the lower rental and operational costs, which will in turn help drive better business performance as they expand. They will also be able to link up with the co-working community to gain an understanding of local market norms, to cross-fertilise ideas and to tap innovative technology as they grow their business,” she adds.

As at 3:33pm, shares in UOB are trading 16 cents lower at $29.98.