Standard Chartered is giving thousands of customers a month’s notice to close their small- and medium-sized business (SME) accounts in the UAE.

In August, it announced that it would exit the SME banking sector, no longer serving businesses with annual revenues of less than $10m, which it considered ‘non-strategic’.

It has retained only a few high-value clients – mid-sized enterprises with annual sales turnover from $10m up to $150m.

[Compare SME bank accounts – approval time to open a new account is listed in ‘The Basics’ section of each account product page]

Standard Chartered is now issuing letters to its customers, stating:

“We regret to notify you that Standard Chartered Bank will no longer be able to provide banking services to you, and your account(s) will be closed 30 days from the date of this letter.”

[Related: A guide to bank accounts for SME | An SME’s bank: A partner, not just an account or loan]

In August, the UAE Central Bank estimated that between 1,400 and 8,000 Standard Chartered accounts were thought to be affected.

Standard Chartered is issuing reference letters to its customers to help them transit to new banks, The National reported.

A year ago HSBC also gave many SME account holders two months notice to find alternative banking arrangements, the paper said.