Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) comprised about 9.5% of the total loan portfolio of the United Bank of Egypt by the end of December 2015, according to vice chairperson and managing director of the United Bank Faraj Abdul Hamid.
Abdul Hamid told Daily News Egypt that the bank’s management targets a 25% increase in the size of loans allocated to the sector within four years, exceeding the Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) assigned share for this sector of 20%.
The CBE decided that the loans allocated by the banks to SMEs should not exceed 20% of their total loan portfolio over a four-year period.
The CBE had given banks until the end of February 2016 to submit their plans regarding this issue to the CBE’s Control and Supervision Sector.
According to Abdul Hamid, the United Bank has already finalised its plan which was presented to the CBE on time.
He explained that the plan includes focusing on offering specialised financial services to SMEs, according to recent definitions developed by CBE, through a group of products that is suitable with the comparative advantage of each governorate, with special attention to productive projects.
The bank has owned a sector specialised in financing these kinds of projects since 2010 and recently restructured this sector in order to enable it to play a larger role in financing SMEs, he said.
Abdul Hamid stressed that the United Bank will prioritise SME financing over the upcoming period; it has developed specific programmes to finance each sector in a way that suits its type, activities, and conditions.
He noted that the bank has previously signed several agreements with a number of supportive bodies that provided technical and financial support to finance SMEs and micro-enterprises.
The United Bank of Egypt signed an agreement with the Social Fund for Development worth EGP 175m. It has also signed an agreement with the Information and Communication Technology Authority (ITIDA), and another with the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (FEDCOC) for EGP 50m, as well as one with the company “Tamneyah” for financial services worth EGP 200m.