HSBC considers fourth SME fund

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International bank HSBC is considering a fourth fund for small and medium-sized enterprises in the UAE following the full allocation of AED1bn in its most recent fund.

Open to new and existing SME customers with cross border trading requirements, about 50 percent of the latest fund was awarded to businesses in Abu Dhabi, 33 percent to firms in Dubai and 17 percent to those in the Northern Emirates.

HSBC MENA regional head of commercial banking Tim Reid said 84 percent of the funds were allocated to companies actively seeking to expand outside the UAE and the bank would continue to target businesses with international potential.

“It’s our view that SMEs are continuing to explore international markets and a growing number of them are increasingly thinking about how they can do business with other parts of the world,” Reid said.

“That focus on the international SMEs is going to continue to be a priority for us.

“We’ll look to find ways to meet their needs and the funds so far have been very successful [so] we’ll certainly consider that [launching a fourth].”

Such funds are an important source of access to money for growing businesses in a time when banks are reluctant to lend, particularly to smaller companies.

HSBC was the first bank in the country to have a dedicated SME team, and the first bank in the UAE to launch a dedicated SME Fund in 2010.

Nasdaq Dubai also is planning to launch a SME stock exchange by the end of the year.

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