Sharjah-based United Arab Bank (UAB) has said its recently launched small to medium enterprises (SME) division is set to double in size as the bank plans to make it a significant part of its growth strategy.

“We expect the SME division to be the fastest growing business within UAB for the next couple of years,” says Brian West, chief financial officer at UAB.

Increasingly governments around the region are focusing on developing the SME sector as a way to generate private sector economic growth and create jobs. Banks in the UAE are also increasingly focusing on SMEs as a new product to help drive growth. West says since the bank started dedicated services for SMEs it has attracted hundreds of new customers, and that the bank is targeting this area for rapid growth over the coming years.

Paul Trowbridge, chief executive of UAB, adds: “This business will make a significant contribution to our profits, and in coming years, we expect it to make up around a third of UAB’s total profits.”

The bank only began a dedicated SME offering late in 2012, and officially launched the SME business on 19 March.