Standard Chartered Launches Africa SME Month

Nigeria: September 1, 2008 – Standard Chartered announced today that it has launched an 'Africa SME month' in its African markets.

'Africa SME month' will be run throughout September. Standard Chartered's SME business teams will launch several new products and services, exclusively to its customers in Africa. The Bank believes that SMEs in Africa currently account for between 30-60% of GDP, predicting that SMEs will be a key driver of sustainable economic growth in Africa over the next 10 years. Standard Chartered's Africa SME Month will provide a platform to launch new products and services to its SME customers in Africa.

Richard Wright, Head of SME Africa, said: "Our Africa SME Month is an exciting initiative. The roll out of these new products during September will enable us to significantly enhance our service to our SME customers in Nigeria to further assist their growing businesses.

The Bank differentiates its Brand in Africa through its ability to leverage its international expertise to introduce new, innovative products and services into its African markets. The launch of our Africa SME Month is yet another example of this competitive advantage."

Standard Chartered's success in its SME Africa proposition has been achieved through rigorously pursuing its strategy of launching new, innovative and increasingly sophisticated products, including SME Express Credit and SME Business Credit accounts.

Another new product being launched is the TurboSIM sales tool: a product which will enable credit applications for SMEs to be processed on mobile phones – a market leading initiative that will significantly improve customer experience.

Standard Chartered's strategic focus on SMEs in Africa will again be highlighted at the end of the year, with the Bank set to sponsor an estimated 200 SME customers at the annual Hong Kong Trade Fair in December. In 2007, the Bank assisted 143 of its SME customers in attending the event as part of its 'SME Trade Corridor' Initiative. Following that success, the Bank will be repeating its commitment this year.

The other important aspect of the 'SME Trade Corridor' Initiative is to provide customers with the ability to open accounts in multiple countries away from their home market, and manage all of their accounts through a single internet banking platform – Straight-to-Bank – allowing customers to access international markets and providing them with unmatched access and control over their finances.

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