Guest Article: One Customised Solution for Multiple Needs
The SME segment plays a very important role in economies worldwide, more so in the United Arab Emirates. Many banks operating in the UAE have unique offerings targeting the SME segment with a specific objective to develop the SME segment. Morison Menon’s association with the SME segment is also quite deep; a majority of our clientele is within this segment.
The Editorial team of ‘Morison Menon News’ caught up with Jamal Alvi, SME Banking Head, UAE of Standard Chartered Bank and tried to understand what Standard Chartered Bank is doing within the SME segment.
Jamal is responsible for the overall strategy and governance of the SME business. His unit develops products and services to further build on Standard Chartered’s strong SME market share.
What has been the Bank’s outlook and strategy for the SME sector in the UAE?
The Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) segment accounts for over 70 per cent of the UAE’s GDP, excluding oil, and therefore plays a pivotal role in economic growth.
Committed to being the right partner for SMEs, Standard Chartered has invested heavily into its infrastructure by opening a number of dedicated SME Centres in several branches across the UAE and has relocated many to be closer to its customer base.
The Bank’s strong growth in the SME market has been achieved by capitalising on its extensive international experience combined with a deep understanding of local markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. As a result of the economic turmoil, we’ve spent time deepening relationships with clients as part of our broader strategy in addition to remaining open for business throughout the recent economic cycle.
How is the government looking to develop SME segment, what is your bank’s contribution?
The UAE’s government has been supporting the growth and development of the SME sector which has been vital for the Middle East. Improving legal framework, improving access to credit, and providing technical assistance are among additional steps that need to be addressed to help SMEs expand. A government loan guarantee programme will help boost lenders’ confidence in the market place.
Standard Chartered is working closely with government entities to provide improved financial solutions and to establish the presence of SMEs in the country. One of Standard Chartered’s recent initiatives was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for young business leaders. The purpose of the signing is to provide additional support for small and medium-size businesses and young entrepreneurs by running workshops on best practice and sharing experiences.
What are some of the usual financing requirements of SMEs?
As SMEs continue to expand, so do their financial / capital requirements. SME clients require financial tools to manage their business’ cash flow efficiently and effectively. Along with tailored products and services that support their businesses such as cash management, foreign exchange/ treasury services, trade finance and business loans, SMEs increasingly demand access to professional advice.
The unique services and products at Standard Chartered’s SME Banking Centres are specifically tailored to meet the growing demands of the small and medium enterprises in a rapidly changing economic landscape.
Is there one solution for the multiple business needs of SMEs?
The competitive environment of the SME sector has meant each small and medium-sized business has different objectives with varying requirements. The need for banks to develop a one stop shop solution has been key to encouraging efficient competition and promoting growth in the segment.
Standard Chartered SME Banking offers Express Trade Solutions, a customised solution for enterprises with a comprehensive range of finance requirements. Express Trade has been specifically designed for businesses with sales turnover of USD1.0 million to USD10 million. It offers SMEs flexibility, giving them the option to choose from a combination of products and services catering to all their financial needs.
How can SMEs benefit from Express Trade Solutions?
Standard Chartered’s Express Trade service offers personalised packages to small businesses, targeting trade and working capital requirements. The service is designed to provide fast and convenient processing of trade credit applications, requires minimum security and enables SMEs
to enjoy partially secured credit facilities to meet day to day business needs.
With the service, small businesses can take advantage of Standard Chartered Bank’s footprint across the world that complements their business needs - allowing them to run their enterprises more efficiently.
SME Banking Head,
Standard Chartered Bank, UAE