Published On: Sat, Oct 31st, 2015

Noor Trade extends a hand to Hospitality SMEs

Usman Khakwani, head of business banking at Noor Trade, tells Catering News ME how the newly established banking division is dedicated to guiding SMEs hand-in-hand towards mutual growth and success

Usman Khakwani, Head of Business Banking at Noor Trade

Usman Khakwani, Head of Business Banking at Noor Trade

Noor Trade, a dedicated banking division solely geared towards helping small to medium sized (SME) companies, will be the official banking partner, and the first bank to open within the Dubai World Central freezone, the home to Expo 2020, when it opens its doors in Q2, 2015.

Exhibiting for the first time last month, Noor Trade was the official banking partner of Gulfood, and over the course of the five day exhibition it received tremendous interest from a wide range of companies, across the hospitality supply chain, of varying size and experience, from across the region and abroad.

Usman Khakwani, Head of Business Banking at Noor Trade, said: “Predominantly banks are thinking that SME needs sit either under corporate bankingor retail and both are very separate – very few have a dedicated focus on SMEs, which sets us apart.”

“There are a variety of needs and requirements specific to SMEs, and we look at the entire process from front end to the back, and we align people who think SME and understand their needs and deliver what they need.”

Noor Trade has a goal of financing AED 5billion in SMEs up until 2017,and the bank is well on its way to doing that, having doubled its customer base over the last year. “By aligning all of our services and our products directly to SMEs, and creating two distinct units for start-ups and those requiring ongoing change, we are getting a lot of positive feedback from our customers.”

The Newly Opened Noor Trade Branch on Sheikh Zayed Road in Al Quoz opposite Noor Bank Metro Station

The Newly Opened Noor Trade Branch on Sheikh Zayed Road in Al Quoz opposite Noor Bank Metro Station

The two distinct units are business banking and merging corporates. The first looks at turnover from AED2m to AED75m and merging corporates goes up toAED350m, with anything exceeded this passed on to colleagues in the corporate bank.

Noor Trade also has dedicated business centres in areas suited to SMEs. Khakwani said: “We started in Dubai with two – inJumeirah Lake Towers in Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) and inDeirain Al NassarSquare – and we have just opened our third next to Noor Bank metro station on Sheikh Zayed Road.

“We are looking at adding two more, one in Dubai World Central headquarters, as the freezonesfirstbankwithin the next four months, and one Bur Dhabi. We are also closely working with other freezones and will actively seek to be exclusive banking partners.

“The key is that we have experts in each branch who know the financing requirements ofSMEs – they speak and understand their language and will find optimum solutions to their needs.

“In addition we have got a robust sales team that goes out to clients, an online platform for online banking, and a 24/7 call centre as many clients are busy during the day.

“We specialise in finance solutions to expand facilities, trade and working capital cycles, affects – including foreign exchange, investment and cash management, and we are trying to structure educational seminars with trade education sessions and cash management.We also have customers looking for personal banking solutions, like wealth management, personal accounts andadvice on protection services.

“Rather than being a one-stop-shop we are customer centric and customer focused on relationships, we want to hold hands and grow together along the path.”

In today’s globalised business environment, it has become more important than ever for businesses to stay competitive and relevant, so Noor Trade will optimise your company’s working capital cycle by bringing in efficiencies across the entire financial supply chain.

Noor Trade chose to partner with Gulfood as hospitality was identified as a big segment and key to Dubai. Khakwani added: “Last year we took a consensus that we needed to be present in Gulfood and the response to us being a partner has been tremendous with enquiries local and internationally.”

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