Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for 24% of United Bank’s total credit portfolio, which exceeds the 20% target requested by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) in January 2018, according to Farag Abdel Hamid, vice chairperson of the bank.
Abdel Hamid pointed out that CBE’s initiative prompted banks to launch specialised departments to finance SMEs, which contributed towards increasing banks’ enthusiasm in financing these types of projects up by 20% of the credit volume by the end of the CBE’s announced period by. United Bank set up three units to finance SMEs.
The bank is working on developing its human resources department, through training courses in cooperation with the Egyptian Banking Institute (EBI), to comply with the latest banking industry standards related to SME financing, and United Bank aims to shorten the fund obtaining period down to one week only, highlighted the bank’s vice chairman.
“United Bank is exerting great effort to support this sector, which is of great importance in reviving the economic situation in general, providing job opportunities for youth, reducing unemployment, integrating the informal economy into the formal sector, relying on local products and improving its quality, thus dispersing imported foreign products,” Abdel Hamid indicated.
Furthermore, he stressed that the bank was one of the first banks to believe in the importance and role of the SMEs sector in achieving comprehensive development, so it has developed a strategy for extensive involvement and national participation in financing this vital sector.
“United Bank has entered into an agreement with i-Score on moveable collaterals, which contributes to opening up new fields for investors as an assurance of financing, and reducing financing risks, which guarantees and protects individual and company rights. Both parties also agreed to provide SMEs assessment services,” he expressed.
Moreover, Abdel Hamid disclosed that the bank also held a series of agreements with financial institutions to help open new financing areas, whether traditional or Islamic, led by the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDA). The bank additionally organised workshops, in cooperation with the European Bank, for the bank’s team on ideal ways to support SMEs.
According to the vice chairperson, United Bank has opened a representative office at the Egyptian Export Development Authority, in addition to its presence in industrial and productive complexes, especially in the governorates of the development axis, Upper Egypt, and the coastal region, in order to contribute to the extension of banking services and financial inclusion concept among producers and exporters through advisory and technical seminars.
He added that the bank offers a range of smart and digital banking solutions to investors, to help them compete with their products in local and international markets.
These services include corporate online banking, which enables clients to manage their accounts from the office and facilitate the conduction of all banking operations remotely.
United Bank also offers a cash management service, which enables companies of all types, whether large, medium or small, to benefit from all their assets and accounts in the bank, in an optimal manner, to receive the highest return, managed easily and quickly and in an automated manner, without the need to move from between branches.