Reinventing financial services for SMEs: Wio Bank

SME Banking
26/04/2023 Interview
profile picture of Jayesh Patel

Jayesh Patel

Wio Bank

Chief Executive Officer

We often read that the offers of traditional banks are not adapted enough to SMEs. So, we set out to discover new players dedicated to SMEs. Jayesh Patel, Chief Executive Officer at Wio Bank, gives us his point of view and shares with us what Wio Bank offers its customers.

In which countries do you operate and how do you perceive the banking offer to SMEs there? In your opinion, does the offer from existing financial institutions meet the needs of SMEs?

The UAE is a heavily banked market with over 50 banks serving a population of 10 million and some 400,000 private sector businesses. The industry is dominated by a set of long-established traditional banks. But banking ubiquity doesn’t necessarily mean customer happiness. Most of the banks continue to have archaic processes and legacy systems. While a handful of digital banks have been launched by incumbents, they are still dependent on the parent bank’s policies, people and infrastructure, thus limiting their ability to truly disrupt the market. 

Wio is the first platform bank in the Middle East region, built as a greenfield project to revolutionize the banking sector with three main capabilities:

 Digital banking apps that are easy, enabling and empowering – your everyday digital banking app with a seamless intuitive experience.

 Embedded finance solutions – Wio will be providing banking services in the apps customers use every day without them needing to switch to the banking app. 

• BaaS capabilities that allow non-banking apps to integrate Wio’s banking services and provide it to their customers. 

Wio has been created with an ambition to contribute to the UAE’s digital vision by creating a robust digital financial system and building disruptive solutions. Wio leverages the strength of its shareholders and the management team who have successfully launched digital banks in the past. This is evidenced by Wio launching the platform in just 17 months! 

The first disruption that Wio has made is with the launch of a digital banking product for businesses. Through rigorous market and customer research, we identified core gaps in financial support faced by SMEs, who are vital to the economic growth of the nation. This led to the decision to prioritize the launch of Wio Business, a tailor-made SME application, providing a convenient and seamless banking experience.

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