A lack of funding for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) remains one of the most pressing challenges facing Middle Eastern economies today.
The bank that took on that challenge with the greatest success last year – to become the region’s best bank for SMEs – was Jordan’s Arab Bank.
Arab Bank, headed by Nemeh Sabbagh, was instrumental in the creation of a JD125 million ($176 million) fund, the Jordan Small and Middle Market Equity Growth fund, a consortium of 18 banks to support the country’s SMEs.
Seeing the value of partnerships to close the SME funding gap, the bank also signed a financing agreement of €300 million with the European Investment Bank to support smaller firms in Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and the West Bank.
Beyond that, Arab Bank recognizes the need to educate the entrepreneurs it lends to by holding a series of workshops for its SME customers.
Finally, Arab Bank expanded its digital as well as bricks-and-mortar offering to its SME clients, establishing specialized business centres for them while simultaneously encouraging them to use ArabiConnect, a new online platform for corporates launched in 2017. The platform includes innovative banking solutions specifically engineered around corporate needs, putting clients’ cash management and trade finance functions in a single location, accessible from anywhere.