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Locality Bank Guides Iraqi Bankers on Small Business Lending Strategies

 Locality Bank, in collaboration with the Financial Services Volunteer Corps (FSVC), hosted a distinguished delegation of Iraqi bankers at its headquarters in Fort Lauderdale on Monday, May 13th, 2024. This initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, aimed to enhance micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Iraq.

Nadia Abdul Hadi Mohamed, Widyan Kazem Mahdi, George Sanchez, Husseinn Abdulameer Jaber Ibadi, Elsa Rizk, Aysia Moroney, Rana Daou, Wattan Al-Taie, Drew Saito, Ali Abdulkareem Ridha Kinani, Dani Zyad Salman Husaini, Alaa Fayeq Dharir Al-Salihi


The FSVC initiative is particularly pertinent given the challenging financial landscape in Iraq, where access to credit is severely limited, placing the country at 185 out of 190 nations according to the World Bank. Factors stifling MSME financing include inadequate lending processes, a poor grasp of MSME business models and risks, and stringent collateral requirements, as noted by the Iraqi Private Banking League (IPBL).


The delegation, visiting under FSVC’s program, engaged in comprehensive discussions led by Drew Saito, Locality Bank’s Co-Founder and Chief Lending Officer, and George Sanchez, SBA Business Loan Specialist. The focus was on the bank’s successful local lending strategies and the innovative technologies it employs. Particular attention was given to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) program and its role in empowering local businesses, an area of keen interest to the Iraqi delegation.

Locality Bank SBA Business Loan Specialist George Sanchez and Locality Bank’s Co-Founder and Chief Lending Officer Drew Saito


“We were privileged to share our approaches to MSME financing and showcase how we leverage the SBA program to support local businesses,” said Saito. “These interactions are not only about sharing knowledge but also about fostering long-term partnerships.”


The program included exploring the relationship management practices that Locality Bank utilizes to support its clients, especially micro and small businesses.


Aysia Moroney, FSVC Program Officer for the Iraq project, stated, “The exchanges between Locality Bank and the Iraqi delegation were invaluable in assisting the delegation to gain practical insights on how they can strengthen their MSME lending processes and their support for small businesses in Iraq.”


“It was enlightening to share strategies for empowering small businesses with our Iraqi counterparts,” said Keith Costello, CEO and Co-Founder of Locality Bank. “We hope these insights inspire meaningful advancements in Iraq’s banking sector to bolster their local economy.”

FSVC Iraq Study Tour


This event is part of FSVC’s ongoing efforts to foster a more inclusive and dynamic financial landscape for MSMEs in Iraq.


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About Locality Bank

Locality Bank is a digital-first community bank based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The bank serves local businesses by offering the traditional services of a community bank as well as user-friendly, cutting-edge technology. The digital-first community bank is located at 1400 South Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale. To learn more, contact Locality Bank by calling 954-799-0900, visiting or via email at You can also follow Locality Bank on FacebookXLinkedInInstagram, and YouTube.

By ML Staff. Images courtesy of Locality Bank


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