Dh1b for SMEs: Emirates NBD
Mar 10, 2013 (Khaleej Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Emirates NBD is planning to double its lending to small and medium enterprises, or SMEs, in 2013 compared to last year and expects up to 15 per cent growth in retail revenues, according to a top official of the bank.
"The bank is planning to lend Dh1 billion to SMEs this year compared to Dh500 million last year," Suvo Sarkar, general manager of Retail Banking at Emirates NBD, exclusively told .
"The expected growth in SME lending is a result of the improving economic growth in the country and the realisation that SMEs have proved to be considerably resilient to the fluctuations in the global and regional economic climate," he said, explaining the reason for the Dh500 million increase this year.
He further said that over the last few years, there has also been a standardisation and streamlining of policies related to SME financing across all financial institutions, and a corresponding increase in risk appetite among small businesses, which continue to contribute a significant percentage towards the UAE's gross domestic product.
He also mentioned that retail revenues will continue to maintain a double-digit growth this year.
"After very good performance during the first two months of the year, we expect retail banking revenues will grow by 10-15 per cent in 2013," Sarkar added. The bank, which is one of the leading banks in the region, is also expanding its branch network in the country and hiring more staff across its network. The Emirates NBD Group has a leading retail banking franchise in the UAE, with 150 branches and over 720 ATMs and cash deposit machines.
"We expect to add three new branches this year -- one each in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. In parallel, we are adding more staff across our network to improve our sales and service capabilities," Sarkar said.
"Improving the customer experience across all channels of the bank, whether face-to-face or electronic, is our key focus this year," Sarkar said on priority areas in 2012. "A number of initiatives are underway to support this -- process re-engineering, staff training and upgrade of our mobile banking, Internet banking and phone banking interfaces," he added.
"Emirates NBD is well-placed to capitalise on the improving economic fundamentals as the bank has a clear strategy in place to further enhance shareholder returns and take advantage of the selected growth opportunities. This strategy is built around five core building blocks which include delivering excellent customer experience, building a high-performance organisation, driving core businesses, running an efficient organisation and driving geographic expansion," the bank said in its annual results statement in January.
In January, the bank launched a major campaign that offered customers a host of special banking products and services tailored to match their lifestyles and needs. The campaign, which was valid at select Emirates NBD branches across the UAE, ran from the beginning of the year until February 28.
In 2012, the bank launched a number of new products like personal cash loans, business vehicle loans, car refinance, loan against property, Emirates NBD Dnata World MasterCard credit card and the RTA co-branded debit card, called Go4it. The product launches were backed by strong customer-oriented marketing campaigns.
The division continued to gain market share in the credit cards and liabilities businesses, driven by the launch of innovative products and services, according to the bank. Multi-channel banking was strengthened during the year with a slew of launches -- the dynamic IVR for phone banking, a revamped mobile banking application as well a new-look electronic banking statement.
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