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Pakistan's best bank for SMEs 2017: UBL


Small and medium-sized enterprises have been somewhat neglected by Pakistani bankers in recent years, despite accounting for around 90% of the 3.2 million private businesses in the country and contributing about a third of GDP. SMEs play a vital role in Pakistan’s economy, but many still struggle to access funding.

According to the World Bank, commercial bank lending to SMEs in Pakistan is currently less than 6% of total bank lending, much lower than Pakistan’s south Asian neighbours.

UBL sees SME inclusion as a critical next phase in Pakistani growth. Spurred on by the central bank, UBL joined up in March with the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation to bring SMEs into the financial mainstream. UBL has created a series of products targeting SMEs, tailored for specific industries, such as rice huskers. And its branchless Omni platform was expanded by associations with the UN’s World Food Programme and WHO among others, to provide cash management and loan services to agriculture SMEs.

Such initiatives, allied with UBL’s strong position in areas that are crucial to smaller companies including treasury services, payments and FX, as well as lending, have made the bank the one to watch in SME.