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NBF launches SME community platform in UAE

Sandhya D'Mello/Dubai
Filed on August 24, 2020
The SMEs contribute 52 per cent of the country's GDP and is targeted to go up to 60 per cent by 2021.

Etisalat and Visa have tied up with NBF to offer a range of non-banking services to empower SMEs.

National Bank of Fujairah (NBF) on Monday announced the launch of NBF Connect, a banking platform for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that will serve as a one-stop shop and will include access to a suite of services and solutions as well as knowledge-sharing capabilities.

Etisalat and Visa have tied up with NBF to offer a range of non-banking services to empower SMEs, which is the largest profit contributor to the bank and is estimated at 21 per cent of the bank's profit. The sector contributes 52 per cent of the country's GDP and is targeted to go up to 60 per cent by 2021, according to the UAE Ministry of Economy.

Devid Jegerson, head of customer experience and platform development at NBF, said: "In light of Covid-19, we did a number of things to help our customers get through these unprecedented circumstances. To start with, we deferred liability payments as well as interest and reduced interest rates in order to help the SMEs to reduce their overall financial expenses. We've also extended incremental facilities to our clients who needed to kick-start their business during these times. Moreover, we've also offered financial support to customers by paying their employees' salaries, utility bills as well as rent through short term bridge facilities. Apart from catering to our existing customers, we've also extended support to our new customers."

NBF Connect includes a discussion platform where SMEs will be engaging in industry-focused conversations such as the opportunities and challenges that currently exist, a news and events hub where members will be receiving the latest SME news and business trends coupled by a calendar of the latest SME events.

Rehan Ali, head of business banking at NBF, said: "We are very excited to be launching NBF Connect, the very first SME platform in the UAE. Testament to their status as the engine of growth and development, SMEs contribute up to 40 per cent of Dubai's GDP alone. As such, we are proud to be the first bank to launch a platform that caters specifically to the needs and aspirations of these businesses. This platform embodies our long-term commitment to UAE's vibrant business ecosystem as we worked closely with the SME community to bring it to life."

Covid-19 has accelerated the transition to the digital world and NBF's objective has been to digitise the sector.

"Being the first bank to launch this forward-thinking platform in the UAE, we wanted to alleviate some of the challenges that currently exist by creating a community where SMEs can share their knowledge and expertise, connect with one another and engage in industry-related conversations, receive the latest market insights and learn about e-commerce and marketplace management among many other banking and business services. It is during difficult times that solutions such as NBF Connect truly showcase a bank's commitment to its customers and we firmly believe that this platform will truly bring the SME community," added Ali.- sandhya@khaleejtimes.com


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