“The sustained decline in oil prices over the coming years will weigh on private consumption and governmental spending. While lower gains in oil production and lower global prices will drag down headline GDP growth over the coming years, non-oil economic activity is likely to remain relatively robust” said Executive Manager Business Banking ta Kuwait Finance House (KFH) Manaf Al-Menaifi.
He added, in a lecture themed “The Relationship of Banks with Businesses” for students of Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST) that the outlook of Kuwaiti banks is brightening as moderate signs of government’s development plan indicate prospects of new financing opportunities and partially mitigate the impact of oil prices. He indicated that Kuwait approved a USD 10bln worth of infrastructure projects which is expected to be the main driver of Kuwait sluggish growth over the coming years.
He noted that new companies are expected to contribute 20% of GDP growth; the remaining growth in GDP is from existing companies, indicating that 80% of all SMEs and SME sales turnover in trade and services sectors.
Moreover, Al-Menaifi reiterated that KFH focuses on SME segment through dedicated relationship officers for businesses who work tirelessly to meet customers’ aspirations advise, guide, and tailor their financial needs while conducting full due diligence. He explained that Business Banking Department is a segment dedicated in dealing with businesses that have sales up to KD 5 million per year emphasizing that KFH Business Banking views the relationships with SME’s to be best categorized as a partnership.
He continued “The Kuwaiti SME banking market is highly fragmented, as often seen in a market where banks are reluctant to provide a full SME service including financing, yet KFH provides Sharia compliant products and services, asset finance, basic deposit and transaction services and a wide range of niche products, not to mention a primarily branch servicing with short opening hours”.
KFH enjoys a broad range of relatively simple products developed to meet SME needs such as current account, savings account, investment products (e.g. money market, Islamic funds), international payments (e.g. Telex, FX account), K-NET/Payment Gateway, point of sale (shop and internet), Internet banking, employee company payment card, letter of credit, letter of guarantee, bonds, equipment leasing, insurance (KFH Takaful) and other services that reflect KFH’s leading position in providing unique banking and financial solutions for SMEs.