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Lending bonanza for SMEs in the UAE

07Noor Islamic Bank is targeting AED 5bn of lending to small-and-medium enterprises over the next five years with the launch of Noor Trade, an innovative, Shari’a compliant banking service specifically tailored for SMEs that contribute significantly to the UAE’s trade flows.

In support of its Noor Trade strategy, Noor has opened its first dedicated trade branch in Almas Tower, home of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), in Jumeirah Lake Towers. A second similar branch is scheduled to open in Deira in July.

Hussain AlQemzi, GCEO of Noor Investment Group and CEO of Noor Islamic Bank, said, “We are seeing significant growth in the SME sector as the UAE economy continues to strengthen and SMEs’ appetite for risk increases.

“We intend to be a significant player in the SME and trade markets. We are committed to supporting government initiatives aimed at boosting business in the country and we are confident that Noor Trade will add a new dimension to the macro environment in which SMEs operate, thereby benefiting the national economy as a whole.”

Under the Noor Trade brand, clients will have access to fully Shari’a compliant financial services, including cash management, trade, and working capital solutions, along with consumer, treasury and Takaful products packaged at preferential rates based on eligibility criteria.

Ehsaan Ahmed, global transaction services and SME head, at Noor, said, “By establishing dedicated trade branches we will be able to decentralise our service delivery and be closer to the customer. Both the DMCC and Deira branches will be easily accessible by the vibrant SME community, and position Noor to better respond to their growing needs for Shari’a compliant banking solutions.”

SMEs are the backbone of Dubai’s economy. They make up 95 per cent of all businesses in the emirate; employ 42 per cent of its workforce and account for 60 per cent of the UAE’s GDP. According to one study, the local SME market will require more than UAE 6bn of credit in 2013. That figure is forecast to increase by 5 to 10 per cent in 2014 if the economy continues to grow at its current rate.

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