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Saturday, 2 March 2013

Standard Chartered, Saadiq look to grow SME business

KUCHING: Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia (Standard Chartered Malaysia) and its wholly-owned Islamic subsidiary bank Standard Chartered Saadiq Bhd (Saadiq) are looking to grow the small and medium enterprise (SME) banking sector as it is among the fastest growing segments in the country.

Standard Chartered Malaysia country head (Consumer Banking) Sonia Wedrychowicz noted that SME was the fastest growing customer segment in the country with a two digit growth rate every year.

“A lot of the innovations that we are bringing in from the conventional side are getting immediately reflected in the syariah-compliant SME products.
“For example, when you see advertising for just one CASA account we’ve introduced for the conventional side, we’ve got also an Islamic version immediately.

“The same is happening for SME as we’re just about to launch a great new value proposition which is going to be available for SMEs both on the conventional side as well as for Saadiq.

“Every new product, initiative, innovation and digital platform we’re trying to do at the same time for both ‘legs’ as we call them to have a full fledged proposition,” she said at a press conference after the launch of Saadiq’s first branch in Sarawak recently.

The country head, who is originally from Poland, described the SME development pace in Malaysia as being ‘amazing’, based on her observation of the number of SMEs blossoming here.
“Our branches are usually located in the middle of the SME centres so the opportunity is there. We’re trying to make sure that we’re the main bank for the customers.

“I’m happy to tell you that all of our products are very much based on the customers’ needs, so when we approach the customers, we want to be the main bank, from lending to deposits as well as to the investment needs of the customers.

“So, we are happy to the main bank for the majority of our customer base and we’re going to grow the business even more this year,” she stated.

Meanwhile, Saadiq chief executive officer Wasim Saifi (who is also global head of consumer banking) made a concurring observation on the Islamic side of banking in that SME sector remained one of the bank’s fastest growing segments on a global scale.

“A lot of the SME businesses are managed by the owners themselves and they are personally keen on Islamic finance. Therefore, they want to make sure that their businesses are also buying and taking syariah-compliant products.

“We’ve been able to complete the SME proposition in most of the markets by bringing in products from all sides, including the Islamic side: financing products, cash management products, electronic delivery products that we now have, the syariah-compliant Islamic platform for SMEs to deal with and all aspects of SME requirements,”
he said.

(Borneo Post Online / 23 Feb 2013)

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