Ajman Bank, the latest entrant in the UAE's Islamic banking sector, is participating in syndication and club loans for the local and regional companies with contributions of Dh100 million during the second quarter, said a senior official.
Ali E Alshaqoosh Al Mueen, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, told Emirates Business in an interview that the bank earlier this month closed a structured finance loan of $18.5m (Dh68m) for a regional company. He refused to disclose the name of the company. "We have few deals in the pipeline that we are aiming to conclude in the next three months. We have assigned certain objectives to achieve profitability. Last year, we had a set an objective to breakeven and we have done that successfully. For this year we are positive results for the year end and will surely achieve double-digit profits this year," he added.
He said the bank's deposits have grown substantially during the first quarter this year, jumping more than 154 per cent to Dh2 billion from Dh786.6m at the end of 2009.
He said the bank will increase lending to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and companies linked to trade sector in the UAE with solid balance sheets and avoid newly-launched companies with little or no track records. "We have devised a specific strategy targeting certain segments of the market. We feel there is very good market size towards trade services and SMEs and the two sectors are going to see steady growth. We are doing all of our services and building up relationships with the trade sector.
"In addition, we are targeting SMEs. We feel some segments are offering good opportunity to grow going forward. We feel good potential to generate more revenue towards targeting that sector."
He said the bank did surveys and market checking and foresees good opportunities. "We can't say that all SME sector is useless. We feel some SME firms offer good opportunities. We need to assess the risk and certain terms and parameters for the SMEs. So why not invest in those SMEs that fall in to these parameters."
He said new companies that had opened recently, a year or two earlier, are very risky and the bank will try not to enter into financial deal with them.