Muscat: Mala'a has received 740,000 credit report applications and 37 membership agreements signed so far in 2020, a senior executive of the company said.
Mala'a or Oman Credit and Financial Information Centre was established in 2019 by Royal decree 382019 as the first pillar of the Central Bank of Oman’s 2019-2021 strategy to enhance the business environment towards implementing Oman 2040 Vision.
The centre offers credit and financial reports and scores for individuals and corporates and aims to be Oman's national data bank.
“Mala'a plays a major role in improving the financial environment of the Sultanate by enhancing financial inclusion, creating a fertile environment for ease of doing business, and reducing credit risks by supporting various institutions in making informed financial decisions, Aadil bin Khalifa Al Saadi, Managing Director of Mala'a, said.
Mala'a also contributes to Oman's economic growth by improving the quality of loans without interfering with the financing decision-making process, and supports individuals and corporates to improve their creditworthiness which leads to a financially literate society that is capable of informed financial planning.
Mala’a has so far signed membership agreements with credit providers from the banking and finance, telecommunications, small and medium enterprises funds, and the insurance sector, in addition to data providers such as Royal Oman Police (ROP) and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Investment Promotion (MoCIIP).
It has also signed several Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) with government entities and non-profit organisations, Al Saadi said.
“These agreements were a cornerstone of the infrastructure of the National Data Bank on which Mala’a continues to work on. The Royal Decree which established the Centre has also mentioned the process of exchanging of information between the centre and credit providers which supports to position Mala’a as the central data bank for credit and financial information in Oman.
Services of Mala’a
Speaking about Mala’a services, Al Saadi said that the Centre provides credit information services such as credit reports, credit classification, and credit score for individuals and institutions, in addition to financial technology solutions such as the Instant Decisions Module, the IFRS9 Module, and Advisor Module.
The beneficiaries of these services are banking, financial and telecommunications sectors, as well as funds supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and insurance companies. This is in addition to all sectors that require creditworthiness information.
Al Saadi said, “Mala’a was established to become a focal point of reference for credit and financial information. It was established in three phases of rigorous work.”
The first phase was completed at the end of last year. The development included the transition to the new Mala’a system, which included credit and financial data from the banking and financial sector of the Sultanate and small and medium enterprise development funds, as well as information derived from the data providers such as Royal Oman Police and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Investment Promotion
The second phase is currently underway which aims to include the telecommunications sector as Mala’a members.
In the third phase, Mala’a targets to onboard the Insurance sector as well as some more data providers from the government. Currently, the Credit information creates a unified base for a national database. “By providing credit information, Mala’a allows beneficiary sectors to avail credit facilities. We aspire to expand the database to serve more sectors in the future,” he added.
With reference to the importance of Mala’a in the credit reporting system, Al Saadi said, “The Credit Bureau System is not new to the Sultanate of Oman. It has been here for more than 10 years, which was previously represented by the Central Bank of Oman (CBO).
The establishment of the Oman Credit and Financial Information Centre, Mala’a, in 2019 comes as a development of the credit bureau system in Oman to stay inline with the world's information technology advancement.
The Maláa credit reports encourage responsible financing to give creditors the ability to make informed financial decisions and reduce credit and default risks, by compiling financial information in individual and institutional reports.
Objectives of Mala’a
The centre is working towards reducing credit risks and improving the quality of loans through its products which support credit providers in making informed financial and credit decisions. This is in accordance with the directives of the CBO to the banks of the Sultanate to extract credit reports when an individual or company applies for a credit facility to assess the financial solvency of the individual or the company before making a decision to grant credit. It helps reduce credit risks and make informed decisions based on credit and financial information available in the Mala'a report, said Al Saadi.
About the future plans, the managing director said that Mala’a would make the foundations of the credit culture among its members in Oman. It will empower them by providing them with important information and add value to the Omani market with the Centre’s products which will enhance the credit sector of the Sultanate.