The banking Academy
The Small Business Banking Executive Training 2015
24-26 March 2015

Small- and Medium- Enterprises (SMEs) account for over 70% of the businesses in the Middle East and Africa regions and contribute a similarly high percentage of jobs there. On average, SMEs employ between 10 to 50 workers, so their impact on employment across the GCC alone is above 8.5 million jobs. A large portion of SMEs are active in the trade sector; other important sectors include consulting firms, small scale workshops, hotels and restaurants as well as construction companies.  

Setting up a winning small business banking infrastructure for your bank

Small- and Medium- Enterprises (SMEs) account for over 70% of the businesses in the Middle East and Africa regions and contribute a similarly high percentage of jobs there. On average, SMEs employ between 10 to 50 workers, so their impact on employment across the GCC alone is above 8.5 million jobs. A large portion of SMEs are active in the trade sector; other important sectors include consulting firms, small scale workshops, hotels and restaurants as well as construction companies

The Asian Banker is proud to launch the region’s most comprehensive world-class training programme on Small Business Banking. It is designed to update senior bankers in the Middle East and Africa regions with leading edge thinking in the areas of credit, marketing, product development and the balance sheet of the business.

Millions of imaginative, hardworking and self-motivated individuals respond creatively to the demands of the economy in the respective countries we come from. Limited access to financing and an underdeveloped regulatory, institutional and policy framework are the main challenges facing SME enterprises in the Middle East and Africa region. 

This training is designed to answer all of the above areas of concerns. This is the premier training event of its kind for the banks, insurance companies and other financial service providers that are serious about succeeding with their customer base.

The objectives of this training

  • To capture leading product innovation and world class trends in small business banking
  • To sharpen the instincts for the balance sheet of small business customers
  • To keep up with new trends, technologies and innovations in global supply chain that are shaping the customer base
  • To speak with SMEs themselves in focus group settings.

This training program is designed for practitioners wanting to constantly improve their SME banking products and services in highly competitive markets:

  • CEOs of banks with a renewed focus on small business banking
  • Senior executives of small business banking
  • Senior executives of retail banking, wealth management, and corporate banking tasked with overseeing SME customers
  • Senior strategic planning executives tasked with building a small business banking
  • Senior credit managers tasked with building a credit management capability for SMEs.
  • Senior product managers

This programme does not require accounting training, but all business owners should have the instincts for managing details.

The rich three day program is designed to be both intensive and highly participatory. A detailed description of each forum is provided after the agenda-at-a-glance below.

Small Business Banking Executive Training
Day 1 - Tuesday, 24 March 2015
09:00 – 10:00

Introduction to small business banking

The opening session will focus on how SME Banking is about financing communities, supply chains, people and ideas that hold the entire economy together. It will also feature presentation from Asian Banker Research on the profiles of SME business customers in Middle East as well as Africa and the financial services that serve them.

10:00 – 10:30 Coffee break

Understanding the business life stages and banking needs of SMEs

Every SME will go through different stages throughout its life. To effectively market to SMEs you need to understand where the business is in its life cycle. This workshop will list characteristics, challenges and needs of businesses as they grow over time. Discover when they need credit, cash management services or other fee-based services.


The different asset financing patterns

Businesses will develop a need for three dominant types of assets, which create a different financing pattern. To work properly, SME bankers need to understand the different asset financing patterns; and how to structure their financing adequately
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch break
13:30 – 14:30

Reading the transaction account of an SME customer

The transaction account is the first glimpse that any financial institution has of an SME customer. But what does it tell us? What can we assume about the customer’s financial position and how do we build on that account? What are the red flags that are discernible from a transaction account? On the other hand, SME bankers also need to understand the inferences that can be made from the financial accounts of SMEs.
14:30 – 15:00 Tea/ Coffee Break
15:00 – 16:00

Evaluating financial accounts for additional information

While it is generally acknowledged that financial information about SMEs are either unavailable or unreliable, this section examines what SME bankers should look out for and how financial conclusions can be drawn along with other available information if financial accounts are available.
16:00 – 17:00

Tackling the secured/unsecured lending business

Due to the general lack of creditworthiness of most SMEs, secured lending products are generally the most common in SME banking. This session will go through some of the most common secured lending products and how they can be marketed successfully. However, despite the lack of creditworthiness, it is still possible to offer unsecured lending products to SMEs profitably and this session will also explore how this can be done.
  End of Day 1

Small Business Banking Executive Training
Day 2 - Wednesday, 25 March 2015
09:00 – 10:30

Managing transaction needs through trade finance

This session lists the various products in trade finance that may be appropriate for SMEs and discuss why trade finance is a critical element in supply chain financing. It will also feature the advantages and challenges faced by banks in extending trade finance facilities to SMEs.
10:30 – 11:00  Tea/Coffee break
11:00 – 12:30

Supply chain financing

In this session we explore why supply chain financing is creating such as buzz and yet why so few banks are doing it successfully. We will take a look at some typical financing structures and discuss if and how they can be replicated in the region.
12:30 – 13:30  Lunch break
13:30 – 14:30

Understanding the role of credit risk management

The credit risk department of a traditional bank is usually designed for either consumer lending or corporate borrowing. Small businesses lending is not, as assumed by some, a mix of both. It requires a different treatment that every bank has to design for itself. This session will explore infrastructure such as credit scoring for small business customers, the credit approval process as and how Basel-II as well as Basel III have changed the perception of risk.
14:30 – 15:00 Tea/Coffee break
15:00 – 16:00

The Underwriting Process

Consistency and credit quality are key to being successful in the SME market. Commercial banks need to utilize a set of consistent processes and procedures to evaluate SME credits. Does the SME stand on the five pillars of sound credit? They also need to be able to communicate effectively with SME owners.
16:00 – 17:00

Small business and debt collection

When it comes to seeking recourse from a failing small business, legal recourse has to always be augmented with other measures. The focus should be on rehabilitating small businesses in trouble so that the value to the community as a whole is preserved. But exactly what checks should be in place to handle such situations?
  End of Day 2

Small Business Banking Executive Training
Day 3 - Thursday, 26 March 2015

09:00 – 10:00

Organizing the sales force

At the end of the day, building the asset book is about sending sales people out to seek and secure the business of the SME customer. How should banks configure their sales teams? Where should they sit? In the branches or in a centralized team? How should they build their relationships and what should their overall duties include, in order to provide exceptional service to ensure customer retention?
10:00 – 10:30  Tea/Coffee break
10:30 – 11:30

Product innovation and building a better marketing capability

The session would include discussions about how to do proper customer segmentation, role which branch managers can play in SME customer acquisition, identifying exact customer needs and solutions, offering customised products to different customer segments and selling non-financial products to customers through cross sell.
11:30 – 12:30

Key performance indicators of small business banking

Profitably serving the SME segment requires a tailored customer management approach. The session will discuss various methods of measuring the profitability of SME banking customer relationships. We also examine how tools like pricing, customer management and service level can be used to maximise revenue opportunities for banks.
12:30 – 13:30  Lunch break
13:30 – 14:30

How mobile banking is becoming a game changer

Mobile banking is playing an effective role in delivering customer satisfaction and ensuring customer retention. What are some of the best practices that we can identify from existing mobile-based services available today? What more can be done? What are some of the trends in mobile technology that financial services players should take into account in mapping their own technology direction?
14:30 – 15:00 Tea/Coffee break
15:00 – 16:00

Capturing the imagination of small businesses today

In this closing session, we let our imaginations fly. How should your bank be organized best to serve the small business customer today? Behind all branding efforts is the importance of having in place the necessary risk functions, product focus and customer targeting that will enhance a believable branding in this industry
  End of Training


For more details please contact Muhammad Usama, Program Manager at 

We are very proud that the faculty for this programme is made up of one of the most experienced bankers serving as teacher,facilitator, mentor, as well as the subject matter expert. He has over 22 years of experience in banking and providing consulting services, as well as financial management training. One of the key focus areas of his work has been on the role of financial institutions in assisting SMEs to drive economic growth within both developed and emerging markets.

David J C Leow
Former Head, SME Banking
Standard Chartered Bank

David J C Leow is a veteran in banking and started his career with Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) as a management trainee in 1993. At various points in his career with SCB, Leow has taken on various roles, including regional and global positions in corporate and institutional banking,credit risk management, supply chain and trade financing, organisation learning, CEO office and SME banking. Leow's diverse experience during his 19 years with SCB saw him playing a key role at various critical milestones of the bank incluing being part of the team tasked with establishing SME banking business in 2000. He also led the successful integration of the operations of American Express Private Bank in Singapore following its acquisition by SCB in 2007 when he was the chief administration officer and director of strategic projects in the CEO office. He also spearheaded a three-year project from 2008 to 2010 to consolidate the Singapore operations, including the Negotiations of the land lease with a statutory board, oversight of the construction of a six-storey, 290,000 sq ft new building, and relocation of some 8,000 staff from 11 locations to two main locations. David also successfully turned around the SME business after he was appointed division head in 2011.


The Small Business Banking Executive Programme is the region’s first and most comprehensive annual training conference on Small Business Banking. Limited places available for 30 participants only.

The fee per participant is US$4,500 per delegate and it includes the following deliverables:

  • All required reading materials
  • Training facilities include all breakfasts and lunches during the workshop
  • A participation certificate issued by The Asian Banker

*For multiple delegates registration, please contact Goderic Tia, Marketing Executive, at email: 

or Tel: +65 6236 6530

For delegates from Africa
Please contact Ashan Abeyratne
Tel: +27 11 0836216

For delegates from Middle East
Please contact Mohamed Elnaggar 
Tel:  +97144273662

Forthcoming Training Courses

What previous attendees say:

"This course is very good. I like it as the group is small. It's easy to communicate and share thoughts"
Manager, Consumer Portfolio Analytics & Reporting, OCBC