Middle East's best bank for SMEs 2018: Arab Bank

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Middle East results

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.

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Nemeh Sabbagh

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.