UOB seeks to expand its banking base in Asia’s small to medium-sized enterprises with the latest targeting of trade association in Malaysia.

The bank will collaborate with three trade associations (SME Association of Sabah, Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce (Sabah) and the Sabah-China Chambers of Commerce) in Sabah representing more than 300 SME owners.

UOB will extend lending facilities and cross-border financial solutions to expand into new markets. In addition, the bank will also offer sharia-compliant financing solutions «at competitive rates and flexible tenures as well as extend government-guaranteed, collateral-free financing schemes administer by local authorities.

UOB Malaysia’s team of dedicated advisers from across the region will connect SMEs in Sabah with government agencies, trade and industry associations and professional service providers to help them invest and expand across Asia,» said UOB Malaysia managing director and country head of wholesale banking Ng Wei Wei.

According to UOB’s head of Islamic banking, Mohd Fohauzi Muridan, Islamic financial solutions could be the natural fit for businesses attempting to achieve sustainable goals or create businesses linked with related ecosystems.

In green technology, for example, Fohauzi notes strong Islamic financing demand for renewable energy, sustainable building and township projects, waste management and transportation projects.

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Given the social and environmental focus embedded in Islamic banking, coupled with its acceptance in Malaysia, Islamic banking can play a leading role in financing SMEs that are committed to achieving sustainability goals, he said. «The ethos of Islamic banking makes it a natural ‘ethical’ financier for such projects.»