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Bank Muscat evokes strong response to unique SME initiatives

MUSCAT, 9 May 2017 - Bank Muscat, the flagship financial services provider in the Sultanate, has evoked strong response to its unique SME initiatives which address the requirements of entrepreneurs in Oman. Stemming from the Royal directives to promote the SME role in the country's economic diversification, Bank Muscat is proud to have initiated a series of innovative programmes benefiting SMEs.

The main objective of the bank's SME strategy is to play an important role in filling the gaps and empowering entrepreneurs to chart successful business ventures by providing necessary training, guidelines and tools.

In line with the vision and directive of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said to stimulate an entrepreneurial mind-set, Bank Muscat is aligned with the national objective to complement and add value to the country's progress and development. Bank Muscat works hand-in-hand with the government and partners to create a favourable environment for SMEs in Oman.

The bank's al Wathbah SME department offers a comprehensive suite of tailor-made finance solutions and non-financial services targeted at small and medium enterprises. Credit facilities, both short-term and long-term in nature, are available to all sectors. Further support is extended through non-financial services in areas of education, coaching, networking opportunities and workshops.

al Wathbah SME non-collateral finance has broadened financial access for entrepreneurs to avail SME finance without collaterals. The facility has simplified the procedures related to SME finance, unlocking the potential of entrepreneurs. The innovative SME finance covers contract and supply finance as well as asset finance, including financing for business activities such as purchase of equipment, supply of raw materials or provision of working capital and other financial requirements of entrepreneurs. For non-collateral finance, the bank conducts risk assessment and due diligence of the company/entity awarding contracts to SMEs.

al Wathbah Business Zone is a dedicated facility available at the head office for the use of entrepreneurs who lack office facilities. All SME customers are entitled to use the facility free of charge subject to booking in advance.

The bank's al Wathbah Academy marks a clear progression of the well-defined strategy to support the SME sector. al Wathbah Academy programmes in Muscat, Sohar and Salalah impart the required skills and guidance for entrepreneurs drawn from diverse fields to embark on successful SME business ventures.

al Wathbah SME TV accessible on Bank Muscat website provides a platform to educate and update SMEs on the latest rules, regulations, challenges and opportunities for SME business ventures.

Facilitating financial inclusion for micro and small businesses, the Bank Muscat najahi products and services have created a positive impact on the community and the nation.

Securing credit without collaterals and accessing innovative banking services are major hurdles faced by micro and small businesses. The specially designed najahi products address this critical need.

The najahi suite of products include the value added najahi Current Account, najahi Flexi Loan to support working capital, business expansion and other business needs; najahi Business Credit Card; najahi Contractors Loan to help complete contracted jobs; najahi Contractors Bill Discounting to get immediate funds after completing contracted jobs and najahi PoS Receivables financing for customers who use PoS machines for their sales.

The bank regularly conducts workshops and seminars to equip SMEs to identify business opportunities and tackle challenges. Serving as building blocks for existing and prospective entrepreneurs, these initiatives reiterate the bank's commitment to create self-employment opportunities for youth who constitute more than 50 per cent of the country's population.

In step with responsible banking, the focus of Bank Muscat is clear – create a sustainable financial platform for the nation and people and thereby contribute to the country's progress and development.