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Stanchart shores up SME financing

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 27 – Standard Chartered Bank has strengthened its Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) holding in the region with the introduction of extra finance to its customers.

Global head of SME banking Subroto Som said the SME segment has grown at almost twice the rate of GDPs in Africa, Asia and the Middle East markets and added that the banks ambition was to grow the SME sector by at least double its current rate.

"Almost 95 percent of enterprises are SMEs. They contribute anywhere from 30 to 60 percent of GDP in the country and they employ about two-thirds of the labour force. Banking for SME is very important. We would like to grow at double the current market. And we would also like to double our market share in the SME sector," he said.

Stanchart\’s General Manager for SME Banking, Humphrey Muturi added that the bank undertook a study and identified four areas to provide better services to SMEs.

"The first area we identified is working capital to serve their (clients\’) day-to-day requirements. The second one is business expansion. From that perspective we are offering them an asset-based finance solution," he explained.

"The third one is around business protection to protect them from the volatility that happens in the market. In the last month we have seen a volatility of around 10 percent in our currency exchange rates and we want to cushion our customers against that," Mr Muturi said.

The launch of SME banking comes just weeks after the bank launched Borderless banking which will allow customers to transact without worrying about exchange rates in Uganda.

The service is set to benefit frequent flyers and business people who trade across Kenya and Uganda.

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