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Championing SMEs

Emirates Money easing financing woes of SMEs, micro SMEs to support UAE’s fast-growing economy.



By Muzaffar Rizvi - Business News Editor

Published: Sun 14 Jun 2015, 9:52 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:46 PM

Emirates money plans to expand its business across the UAE by broadening its product offerings especially for small and medium enterprises, or SMEs, to support the rapidly-growing economy of the emirate, says its top official.

The consumer finance subsidiary of Emirates NBD has introduced a business credit card and aims at offering the new product to about 30 per cent of its existing customers in the first year and then increase it to cover 50 per cent to 60 per cent over the next two years.

“The introduction of the business credit card is aimed at meeting the specific credit needs of SME entrepreneurs in the UAE. We believe that the newly-launched proposition will add tremendous value for existing and new customers of Emirates Money,” Vikas Thapar, chief executive officer of Emirates Money, told Khaleej Times in an interview.

The venture in the credit card business is in line with Emirates Money’s strategy for market dominance in the SME and micro-SME segments. Since its inception in 2008, the finance company has given more than 25,000 loans worth Dh7 billion as it has been growing faster than the market in the key product group of vehicle financing, business loans, merchant loans and mortgage-backed loans.

Empowering SMEs

Thapar was confident of the success of the new credit card and said this product offering will position Emirates Money as a one-stop finance solutions provider for SMEs and micro-SMEs in the UAE, leveraging the existing range of tailor-made solutions to meet all their financing and payment needs.

Elaborating, he said the new card is aimed at further empowering SMEs in the UAE to proficiently streamline their day-to-day finances and cash flows.

“Many entrepreneurs in the country currently use multiple personal cards for their business expenses. Our newly-launched card offers a host of unique features such as five per cent cashback on government spends, utilities, hotels, international spends, discounts on car rentals, recruitment, PRO and professional services.

“The card also offers a 75 per cent cash withdrawal limit, complementary golf and airport lounge access, attractive offers on dining, fitness and wellness centres and also specific business protector insurance of up to Dh250,000.”

About the eligibility criteria, he said individuals with an existing relationship with Emirates Money can secure the card while any business owner taking a new loan from Emirates Money will also be eligible for the new product. He said the credit limits are decided based on customer’s profile and our credit criteria, however, the maximum limit is kept at Dh300,000.

“The card comes free of any cost for the first year, and carries a nominal annual fee of Dh750 from the second year onwards, which will be typically offset by our attractive cashback programme that offers up to Dh2,000 cash back every month,” he said, adding that customers also enjoy an interest free period of up to 55 days, and a nominal interest of 2.49 per cent per month.

In reply to a question about new products in the pipeline, he said: “Yes, we are working on further enhancing our product suite. The new product launches will be announced during the course of the year.”

Growth strategy

Thapar said Emirates Money’s current customer base represents SMEs from across industries in the UAE. He said all sectors of economy are eligible to become Emirates Money customers and benefit from the unique features of its wide product range. The card limits and approvals are of course subject to the company’s credit policies, he said.

“At Emirates Money, our strategy is based on expanding our business to support the rapidly growing economy of UAE, while maintaining the same quality standards that we have achieved over the years. “This will be led by broadening our product offerings to match diverse financing requirements of our customers. We will also widen our market presence through expanding our sales and distribution network.”

He said Emirates Money has a comprehensive suite of products to cater to different loan requirements of its customers.

Thapar explained three different types of loans that SMEs can obtain from Emirates Money at competitive rates. He said up to Dh1.5 million business loans can be obtained for short-term period without collateral. “Up to Dh7 million loans are available for commercial vehicles fleet and construction equipments while the similar amount can be secured against property or gold,” he said, adding that the pricing of Emirates Money credit card is the best and most competitive in comparison to other business card offerings in the market.

Thapar said Emirates Money has emerged as the leading consumer finance company in the UAE since its inception in 2008.

“We would want to retain this position and continue to evolve our product offerings to cater to the ever increasing financing requirements of the SME segment. We will also continue to grow our distribution network to support the rapid growth of the SMEs,” he said.

A recent study by the Ministry of Economy showed that nearly 300,000 SMEs account for 92 per cent of UAE companies, which contribute to more than 60 per cent of the emirate’s GDP and employs 86 per cent of the workforce.

With a significant market share, Thapar said Emirates Money has performed exceptionally well in 2014, underpinned by robust growth in loan book and revenues. The performance was also a result of diversified product offering to cover the entire spectrum of SMEs and micro SMEs, he said.

“We have also capitalised on the customers’ loyalty that is clearly viewed through the increasing volume of repeat customers, which in fact reflects a very positive perception of Emirates Money in terms of the quality of products and services. This is also reflected in our high customer satisfaction scores as per studies by leading research firms.”

“We disbursed more than Dh1.5 billion in 2014 to approximately 6,000 customers. Our target for 2015 is to maintain our business momentum and grow quality portfolio,” he said.

Thapar said Emirates Money has been the pioneer in the consumer finance industry and is the leading finance company today. “We have achieved this by focusing on maximising the value of our three key stakeholders — customers, employees and shareholders,” he said.

Thapar said Emirates Money has a large customer base covering key business sectors. “Our current customer base is approximately 25,000, out of which 65 per cent are repetitive customers, meaning that they return to Emirates Money for additional financing requirements. This validates the high customer satisfaction scores we enjoy, which currently stands at 85-90 per cent,” he said.

“At Emirates Money, we emphasise on understanding the specific requirements of our customers and introduce customised products to meet those needs whilst offering best-in-class customer experience,” Thapar concluded.  

It's all about Emirates Money:

 > Emirates Money has emerged as the leading consumer finance company in the UAE since its inception in 2008

> It offers services mainly to micro SMEs and self-employed businesses, which together drive almost 90 per cent of revenue

> So far it contributed to the growth of more than 25,000 customers

> The finance company offers a wide range of secured and unsecured products to cater to business requirements of up to Dh7 million

> Competitive interest rates as low as 5.99 per cent provides a highly cost effective financing solution to SMEs

> The company disbursed more than Dh1.5 billion in 2014 to approximately 6,000 customers 

muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com


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