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Middle East's Best Bank Awards

Dubai: Best Bank for SMEs 2021

Commercial Bank of Dubai

Commercial Bank of Dubai wins in both the SME and CSR categories, partly on the strength of its digitalization push.

Under the leadership of Bernd van Linder, its chief executive since 2017, CBD was as ready for the chaos of 2020 as any bank in Dubai, or beyond for that matter.

Even before the pandemic arrived, Van Linder’s team was pursuing a “default digital” trajectory for the 52-year-old institution, which means that when in doubt, customers should expect online interactions.

This, of course, put CBD in line with the national government’s aspirations to morph the UAE into a “smart country” of the first order. Here, CBD is as good a microcosm as you can find. As the bank’s leaders explain it, CBD isn’t benchmarking itself against the local competition. Rather, it’s the likes of Google, Facebook and Amazon that they have in their sights. In the globalized system, they believe, the tech majors are the only relevant benchmarks.

CBD’s SME clients are almost certain to agree. At the height of the Covid-19 lockdowns, CBD did more than offer existing clients loan extensions and urgent financing arrangements.

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