Complex Made Simple

ADCB’s digital, agile, and measured vision to graduate SMEs to corporate success

“Our vision is to create a most valuable & resilient banking franchise for SME customers in the UAE”- Bojan Djokovic, Lead of ADCB's Commercial Banking Solutions and Strategies

ADCB accompanies SME clients from their early days of being a start-up to when they transition into a more mature entity Digital developments, whether using its internal digital lab or fintechs, are top of the agenda for ADCB and substantial investments are taking place and planned in the future on this front ADCB is agile in innovating the banking experience and constantly improving by listening to response from customers, while putting focus on mobile as a primary channel for day-to-day business.

AMEinfo interviews Bojan Djokovic, Lead of Commercial Banking Solutions and Strategies at ADCB

There are over 50 banks in the UAE. 

“Not all banks are offering a full suite of products and services for every type of SME. ADCB is one of those who do,” Bojan Djokovic, Lead of ADCB’s Commercial Banking Solutions and Strategies, told AMEinfo in an exclusive interview.

ADCB has a vision in place when it comes to commercial or SME banking.

“Our vision is to create a most valuable & resilient banking franchise for SME customers in the UAE,” said Mr. Djokovic.

“We want to be known as a universal banking provider that can be a one-stop shop for your business. It means we would offer superior customer service, go digital to the maximum extent possible, and tailor make products and processes to answer any customer’s need using a prudent risk approach, in order to achieve a long-term sustainable business.”

ADCB accompanies SME clients from their early days of being a start-up to when they transition into a more mature entity. 

Here’s how ADCB puts this into action and how it paints a future with bold strokes: 

From idea to success: ADCB’s support along the corporate journey

ADCB takes calculated measures helping SMEs from the birth of the small business, through its growth stages, and eventual graduation to larger corporate company status.

“We follow the SME from the business idea, when they initially fund themselves, then grow more confident in their business model. Additional steps include asking the bank for letters of guarantees when bidding on projects, begin building credit and financial histories to when ADCB steps in to fund future, more ambitious projects, and can provide loan facilities in support of future expansion and growth. We offer them everything they need towards a corporate journey that would one day place them among top businesses in the UAE,” explained Mr. Djokovic.

ADCB’s universal bank style of covering all the angles for SME needs is closely aligned with bank’s adoption of a digital transformation strategy. 

“If you wish to be a dominant market player in the SME space, you always have to be ahead of not only competition, but sometimes ahead of your clients’ own expectations and aspirations,” added Mr. Djokovic. 

And digital is moving so fast towards Mobile channel adoption by customers, unlike anything we have seen before.” Mr. Djokovic highlighted. 

“In 5 years’ time you can assess how good a bank is by how good and utilized their mobile banking app is”

Growth in SME digitalization shaping ADCB’s Fintech Strategy 

ADCB has 40,000 active customers banking every day and as diverse as the bank’s clientele is, so has to be the offering.

Naturally fintech has to be part and parcel of the bank’s vision, especially as digitalization is top of mind for SMEs, consumers and financial institutions, locally and globally.    

“Digital is the number one item on our agenda today. Customers bank with us more and more digitally and about 90% of all SME client transactions today are executed via digital channels,” started Mr. Djokovic.

Fintech, like for other markets and industries, is increasingly present in everyday business operations. 

“Across the banking journey, you have evidence of fintech everywhere.”

ADCB is collaborating with fintech startups on several projects and the UAE, and prioritizes retail and SME segments for its fintech strategy as this helps deliver faster, more rewarding results for both bank and customers.  

“We are also working with fintechs to help us with our credit underwriting process, to perform document analysis, spreading of the financials, as well as to open new channels of communication with ADCB customers,” said Mr. Djokovic.

ADCB also evaluates projects with fintech that can add value to SME customers and continuously builds the infrastructure needed to plug in new solutions easily, unplug it later, and start anew, a very modular system that the bank continuously improves and builds into place.

Internally, ADCB has an agile digital program where it develops products and processes, and upgrades certain features of what it offers to its customers in very short intervals. ADCB is constantly rolling out new features, testing the response and adjusting the solutions, according to the feedback received from customers.

Technological leaps: ADCB’s digital vision for the future

We asked: will ADCB adopt Open Banking and will it ever become a neobank (fully digital)?

“Both are in the plans to a certain degree, but we don’t have a plan to completely transform into a digital only bank, at the moment” said Mr. Djokovic.

He said ADCB as a universal SME banking provider, does not plan to transform its SME franchise to a pure digital offering yet, because certain services and segments of customers still require to an extent personal interaction and traditional relationship management. But it is not excluded entirely, looking at how the industry is transforming locally and globally. 

Open banking is a model in which banking data is shared between two or more independent parties through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), a way for two computer applications to talk to each other over a network, and Mr. Djokovic see it as the right approach for a wider banking strategy and for the country as a whole. 

“We are following the government efforts in this field and adopting new solutions over time, and we will get there eventually, when the market is fully ready for such new way of banking. And it will come soon. We are also heading towards potentially offering more peer to peer banking options in the future.”

ADCB is also well on its way with Machine Learning (ML) and data analytics.

“Within our digital program, we have a data analytics stream. Not the old fashion way of crunching data and using it in CRM campaigns, but rather using predictive analytics, big data features with use cases related to SMEs,” revealed Mr. Djokovic.

He said ML is especially used by ADCB in automating backend processes, and that its retail arm and contact centers are working with bots that SMEs can use as well.

So, how important are SMEs within ADCB’s vision for the future?

“Well, ADCB’s vision is to be the number one bank of choice in the UAE, by creating relationships that last a lifetime. This cannot be achieved without a strong, market recognized SME operation,” concluded Mr. Djokovic.

Always tailored to your business: this article is powered by ADCB.