Next SME banking podcast with Mastercard discusses the deeper importance of SMEs to the global economy

Rajeev Chalisgaonkar is Managing Director, Global Head of Business Banking, at Standard Chartered Bank. He spoke with Efma’s Lukas Dzuroska about banks’ unique relationships with their SME clients and how it can lead to more stability in societies.

Next SME banking podcast with Mastercard discusses the deeper importance of SMEs to the global economy

2020 has been a turbulent business environment all over the globe. As businesses have navigated this unprecedented year, they have been able to rely on their banks for crucial guidance. To understand how this has played out in practice, Efma’s SME banking expert Lukaz Dzuroska spoke with Rajeev Chalisgaonkar, the Global Head of Business Banking at Standard Chartered Bank. Mr. Chalisgaonkar has more than 26 years of banking experience from all over the globe and draws on his deep experience to provide useful insight. As with all interviewees on this show, Mr. Chalisgaonkar is a nominee for 2020 SME Banker of the Year.  

In this latest installment of the Efma-Mastercard SME Banking podcast, the two talk about the most rewarding aspects of SME banking. Said Mr. Chalisgaonkar: “Getting to meet entrepreneurs and helping them on their business journey. And then equally importantly, seeing the result of that help. And seeing them grow. That whole cycle is very fulfilling.”   

Some bankers choose to provide a stock answer to the question of “What role do SMEs play in the global economy?” They will talk about how SMEs are the largest source of employment and GDP around the world. But Mr. Chalisgaonkar believes there is a deeper answer to the question. For him, SMEs bring stability and hope. “It is not just about employment, but the social stability that employment creates. Beyond that, countries that have an entrenched entrepreneurial culture where SMEs are encouraged to thrive, I believe those societies have more hope because everyone knows there is an opportunity to do something on their own.”

In terms of the way client needs have changed in recent years, Mr. Chalisgaonkar notes the impact of digitization and formalization. SMEs are simply operating in digital environments and ecosystems, no matter the geography. As a result, banks have had to develop their digital offerings to keep pace with dynamic business environments. These digital changes have also had the effect of bringing more businesses and people into the formal economy, making them more bankable.

Lukas and Rajeev discuss much more throughout their conversation. To listen, download the podcast here

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