For much of its history in the region, the Bank assigned individual credit analysts to relationship managers, operating under the umbrella of the Bank s International Retail Banking arm. But as BNP Paribas presence in the Gulf expanded, a dedicated unit working under the Corporate & Investment Banking (CIB) platform became a much more effective way of delivering high-quality service to clients.

The Credit Management Solutions division was created at the regional headquarters in the Kingdom of Bahrain to provide comprehensive service to clients across the Middle East and Africa. Working with various internal and external stakeholders, the division s role is to help clients meet their financing needs, ensuring credit decisions are well informed and proposals are delivered in a timely fashion. The team conducts counterparty risk analysis, co-ordinates the evaluation process and monitors key issues on an ongoing basis.

Yudesh Sohan, who joined BNP Paribas in 2004, and is now Regional Head of Credit Management Solutions, says the centralised Credit Management Solutions function has helped deliver a uniform and high-quality service to the Bank s customers: Over time the credit function has evolved. Credit at one point was set up whereby the credit analyst was assigned to a specific relationship manager, say in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or Kuwait. Now we re operating on a more refined basis, which allows for a common credit culture and the provision to our clients of a truly international portfolio of solutions aligned to the more global nature of the region s businesses.

Functions supporting the business

While the Group s business has continued to grow in the region across the aforementioned business lines to serve an expanding client base, the Bank s ITO (IT & Operations) and Functions teams have operated behind the scenes in the capacity of strategic business partners to make such developments possible. Based in the Kingdom of Bahrain and covering the whole region, ITO covers Capital Markets, which mainly include the middle and back offices to support conventional and Islamic capital markets activities, as well as Financing businesses, which cover the wide scope of Corporate Banking and Trade Finance and include middle office for trade finance, middle and back office for payments and back office for credit operations. ITO also covers the Client Management, Information Technology (IT), Global Security, Project Management Office and Operational Permanent Control. The Functions also deliver a key range of services to support our business and include the following: Finance & Development, Legal, Brand & Communications, Human Resources, Inspection Générale (Audit), Compliance & Control, Credit and General Services.

In addition to teams based in the regional HQ in the Kingdom of Bahrain, a secondary functions platform is based in Dubai to support the Bank s global business continuity plans.

Erik Stroet, Regional COO and Deputy Head of BNP Paribas Middle East and Africa, Corporate & Investment Banking and Investment Solutions, explained the operating philosophy of the team: The projects, which are handled by ITO, are mainly driven by

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