(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Emirates Development Bank (EDB) has announced that it is launching the EDB Business Banking app, in partnership with YAP, a UAE-based fintech, to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in the UAE.
The launch of the app is integral to EDB's new strategy unveiled earlier this year. As part of this strategy, EDB has earmarked Dh30 billion to extend financial and non-financial support to SMEs in the UAE over the next five years. The app offers SMEs access to 24x7 secure, convenient, on-the-go digital banking services. In addition, it also provides an unmatched digital bank account user experience. With the app, the business account IBAN is reserved in a matter of minutes and account activation completed in 48 hours. The account is free to all, across all emirates, with no minimum balance criteria.
Speaking to Khaleej Times after the launch, Ahmed Mohamed Al Naqbi, chief executive officer of EDB, noted that the launch of the app is part of EDB's commitment to innovation and the adoption of advanced technology to help SMEs kick start their business. The launch follows a period of extensive research, where EDB observed key challenges that SMEs in the UAE continued to face.“We have listened to SME's challenges and have integrated every aspect of their needs into our business banking experience, completely transforming their ability to get their business up and running quickly and efficiently.”
“In my conversations with various groups across the government, semi government, incubators, and entrepreneurs, it was very clear that a common challenge across the board was account services and account openings for the SME segment of the market,” he noted.“This is the first step towards them being enabled to start their business in the UAE. The bigger picture is not just about them opening an account; opening an account allows them to start transacting and doing their business locally here in the UAE.”
Every minute that EDB saves them in setting up their bank account, is a minute that goes towards them setting up their business, Al Naqbi said. In addition, when an entrepreneur has an account and access to account services, over time they are building a track record and history of their business. This, he stressed, is critical for any entrepreneur that is looking to raise funding. Having secure and transparent transactions properly documented and verified makes it easier for them to present their case and secure funding.
Through its partnership with YAP, EDB's Business Banking app will offer a comprehensive suite of banking facilities including; a fully operational business bank account, bill payments, invoicing, budgeting and analytics. The launch of EDB's Business Banking app follows agreements with leading UAE banks to provide credit guarantee schemes and co-lending agreements, aimed at offering direct and indirect lending to SMEs.
“We are pleased to partner with EDB to create a revolutionary service and app for SMEs who are looking for a more seamless approach to banking,” said Marwan Hachem, chief executive officer of YAP.“At the core of all of YAPs products – for individual customers and businesses – is to make their experience enjoyable and convenient.”
Asked how the bank would be building on the offering in the future, Al Naqbi said:“This is just the starting point. Right now, we are addressing the biggest challenge of SMEs having access to the financial and account services that they need. However, there is a roadmap over the next few months of added services and features such as VAT calculation and VAT submission. Any entrepreneur setting up their business for the first time is not going to be a tax expert, so this will help them avoid getting penalized.”
“We are also looking at budgeting tools and payroll services for when they start growing their business and adding employees to their team,” he added.“All these are going to be rolled out over the course of the next few months to continuously improve on the application and add more valued services targeted for the SME segment.”
He also stressed that EDB is positioning itself as a development bank that will“play in the right space” by targeting“the gaps in the market.”
“We are not commercial in nature, and we are not looking at profitability, so we can go into these underserved segments and cater to their needs,” he said.“Entrepreneurs don't need someone coming in and trying to make money off of them, because they are still at the stage of their business where they are trying to build something. If you are making money off of them, you are really crippling them. We want to compliment the wider market in the UAE that is already present by positioning ourselves to be the incubator for financial services for SMEs. Digital allows us to do this on scale and reach.”
Rohma Sadaqat I am a reporter and sub-editor on the Business desk at Khaleej Times. I mainly cover and write articles on the UAE's retail, hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors.Originally from Lahore, I have been living in the UAE for more than 20 years. I graduated with a BA in Mass Communication, with a concentration in Journalism, and a double minor in History and International Studies from the American University of Sharjah.If you see me out and about on assignment in Dubai, feel free to stop me, say hello, and we can chat about the latest kitten videos on YouTube. Click/tap here to subscribe to Khaleej Times news alerts on Telegram.
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