Posted on : Sun, 18 Apr 2010

Qatar, 18 April 2010 - Qatar Development Bank (QDB) and Qatar National Bank (QNB), signed today a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will see the two banks work together on “Al Dhameen” a loan assurance program for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Qatar.

The initiative is the first of its kind in the country and one that has been scarcely implemented in the region.

The MoU was signed by Mr. Mansoor Bin Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud, Chief Executive Officer of QDB and Mr. Ali Shareef Al-Emadi QNB Group Chief Executive Officer. The signing ceremony was attended by Mr. Abdulla Mubarak Al Khalifa, General Manager Corporate Banking at QNB and Mr. Abdulaaziz Bin Nasser Al Khalifa, Director of Strategic Planning at QDB, in addition to a number of officials representing both banks.

This MoU is in line with the strategies of both Qatar Development Bank and QNB. It is among the most significant initiatives being undertaken to support private sector development in the State of Qatar through the funding of SMEs.

“Al Dhameen” program is in line with the wise policies and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar to achieve Qatar National Vision 2030 which aims to transform the country into an advanced nation that is able to achieve sustainable development and ensure a high standard of living for its people for generations to come.

The program is the result of extensive research and market studies conducted by QDB to assess current obstacles and challenges being faced by the SME sector, taking into particular account the potential contribution of this segment to overall economic growth and diversification.

QNB, due to its extensive experience, in-depth knowledge of the market, and leading role in the Qatari banking sector, was the first choice to partner with QDB in this initiative, especially due the Bank’s proven track record in supporting projects and initiatives that foster economic growth and development.

Mr. Mansour Al Mahmoud Chief Executive of QDB said this agreement is of particular significance as it represents the activation of QDB’s strategy for supporting SMEs, which are important to shaping the Qatari economy. He said QDB conducted comprehensive analysis covering the constraints being faced by this sector.

The research identified financing as the main barrier to sustainable growth for SMEs. Based on these findings, QDB developed “Al Dhameen” which covers a portion of banking sector exposure in the event of borrower default. The program will also encourage banks in Qatar to expand their lending to the small and medium scale sector, especially to those SMEs that hold promise but are not in a position to leverage assets or furnish accounting records to secure these loans.

Mr. Al Mahmoud said that Al Dhameen is not an insurance program to protect banking sector loan portfolios but one that aims to stimulate lending while ensuring efficiency in the way loans are made available to SMEs.

“Al Dhameen” is expected to increase the number of SME initiatives by expanding the scope of banking services offered to this sector. It is also in line with QDB’s commitment to support the Qatar National Vision 2030, with one of its pillars being the sustainable development of a diverse national economy.

The program is to be gradually incorporated across all banks operating in Qatar, starting with QNB in recognition of its leadership in the banking sector and highly active role in supporting the development of the national economy, particularly the SME sector.

Finally, Mr. Al Mahmoud expressed his appreciation for the continuing support and cooperation enjoyed by the two banks, stressing the importance of this relationship to achieve the desired objectives of the “Al Dhameen” program.

Mr. Ali Shareef Al Emadi, QNB Group Chief Executive Officer praised QDB’s efforts to support SMEs. He also expressed his happiness at the selection of QNB as the first partner for “Al Dhameen” and said that this agreement will contribute to the development of many national projects, reflecting positively on the diversification of private sector contributions to Qatar’s GDP, in accordance with Qatar National Vision 2030.

He also said that this program will be an incentive for banks operating in Qatar to create innovative financial products tailored to the needs of SMEs.

“QNB is the first bank in the country to be selected by QDB for this major project and we are enthused by QDB’s confidence in QNB as a key partner in advancing Al Dhameen.

QNB anticipates effective and convenient financing solutions to be available for SMEs in Qatar through “Al Dhameen” and Mr. Al-Emadi said QNB is committed to supporting such national initiatives, while continuing its leading role and dedication to participating and supporting events and projects that help shape the Qatari economy.