SME Banking Asia Summit - Expert Opinion

  • Nilanjan Ray, Managing Director – Global Commercial Banking at National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD)

  • 06.01.2017 10:10 am

Whether you are looking to strengthen SME Banking market analyses, forecast & segmentation strategies for risk-resilient lending; advance business models to ensure growth in unsecured lending portfolios; minimise SME banking operational expenses, or improving SME banking retention strategies through products & services offerings, look no other than SME Banking Asia Summit, the best SME Banking conference that gathers leaders from Award-winning commercial banks and policy-makers from central banks.

SME Banking Asia Summit 2017 promises to be the most exciting regional platform for leading commercial and state banks aspired to maximise the profitability and sustainability of their operational strategies and business models. SME Banking Asia Summit 2017’s interviews feature the most exclusive expert opinions, views and suggestions from our expert speakers.

In this part of the series, hear one of the most established SME Banker from Middle East, Mr. Nilanjan Ray, Managing Director – Global Commercial Banking, National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD). While concurrently focusing on banking products & services offered to SME clients, Mr. Ray has accumulated a reputable and multinational banking career with over 18 years across many financial institutions including ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, IDBI Bank, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB). Follow Mr. Ray’s voices on SME Banking challenges in UAE / The Middle East as well as his introduction to case study presented at SME Banking Asia Summit 2017.

EG: Share with us your multinational banking career and your present Global Commercial Banking role as a Managing Director at NBAD?

Nilanjan: I currently manage NBAD’s Commercial Banking in UAE, Egypt and Oman. I joined NBAD from Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) where I was the Head of Business Banking division.

Prior to ADCB, I had worked for ICICI Bank in Bahrain and India, HDFC Bank and IDBI Bank, both in India. In all these roles, I was able to demonstrate strong financial accomplishments, product innovation and implemented strategies that strengthen SME and Commercial Banking. Currently, my strategy capitalises on the wider footprint of NBAD across its international network and is focused on providing a complete range of banking services to growth businesses in the UAE and Gulf. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Calcutta University and Post Graduate Diploma from IIFM. In addition to my responsibilities at NBAD, I am a Member of SME Committee of UAE Bank Federation (UBF) and a Member of UBF Working Group for Credit Bureau and Central Bank for SME Banking

EG: What are the most pressing challenges in SME Banking across Middle East generally and UAE particularly in recent time, and how do they influence the performance of all SME Banks?

Nilanjan: SME Banking has been negatively impacted in last 18 months due to several macro headwinds. The impact on government budgets due to fall in energy prices reduced fiscal spending and new projects. Large scale depreciation of currencies in Africa and CIS as well as some of the South Asian countries impacted receivables of traders from these markets. Besides, downturn in several metals and Agro-commodities also caused excess inventory and receivable issues. As a result, portfolio quality of all these factors were negatively impacted across banks.


EG: In which direction is NBAD reacting to these headwinds and their impacts, and what general policies would you like to emphasise?

Nilanjan: We cannot say that the problem is behind us yet. What we can say is that we are not seeing further rapid deterioration. Therefore, we are working with clients to help with their cash flows and supporting select growth opportunities. We are also investing in SME Academy, our effort to educate SME customers on critical areas affecting SMEs.

Our belief is that in a dynamic market like UAE, SMEs need to have higher level of sophistication in managing cash flows, hedging forex and commodity risks as well as understanding geo-political risks. As a result, banks must focus on offering such solutions and advice to SME clients stepping beyond vanilla lending products and banks offering such solutions will do well.

EG: Any recent achievements you would like to share about NBAD’s SME Banking programmes, such as loan products, non-lending products, card payment, trade products and segmentations strategies?

Nilanjan: Key business Achievements during my stint at NBAD would be:

•           Grown the team about 7 times

•           Grown the book about 8 times

•           Revenues from flow products at 37%

•           78% of deposits book are interest free

•           Distribution through Sales, Business Banking Centers, branches and RMs

•           FICO scored/ Expert Credit scored / MRA Rated lending

In addition, we made significant investments in building a SME Ecosystem. Below initiatives were launched to realize this objective

•           Launched SME Academy

•           Launched SME Advisor

•           Launched Professional SME Banker Programme

•           Alliance with SME development funds, SME Index and government

EG: What will you be presenting at SME Banking Asia Summit 2017 and the values you wish to obtain throughout the event? 

Nilanjan: I would like to focus my presentation on Building a SME Ecosystem.

I will share the presentation with audience closer to the date of the event. I hope to learn from regional and international best practices particularly in areas of Customer segmentation and Value Proposition during the event.

Join Mr. Nilanjan and other SME Banking professionals at SME Banking Asia Summit 2017, 27-30 March 2017 in Singapore

Reserve Seats at Group Discounted Rates and Spend 4 Days Exclusively Discussing SME Banking Strategies with our Leaders.  

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