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Middle East lenders ‘shy away from SMEs’

Sheikh Hamad bin Faisal, chairman of Qatar's al Khalij Commercial Bank (al khaliji), has said lending institutions in the Middle East have been rather reluctant in extending loans to small and medium enterprises, Gulf Times has reported. The Middle Eastern banks' portfolio of SME investments is less than 5%, compared with almost a quarter of total investments almost a quarter of total investments, Sheikh Faisal said. "This number alone should be the impetus for financial institutions to re-focus their efforts on smaller enterprises rather than large corporate. I understand that the risk is higher, but it's a risk worth taking," he said.