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Nibrass SME scheme a success

Manama, October 31, 2007

The launch of 'Nibrass' Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Financing Scheme by Labour Fund and Shamil Bank has been a success.

Running into the second month of the pilot phase, the scheme continues to be offered to a larger SME base in Bahrain.

'The public response to the initial low-key launch of Nibrass was expected to fetch a lower number of applicants. The objective of inviting fewer applications in the pilot phase was to put to test the newly developed applicants eligibility criteria and to ensure that the bank's first such endeavor had all operational support systems in place,' said senior manager (head of Corporate Banking), Shamil Bank, Farooq Mohamed Al-Awadhi.

'On the contrary, we received a large number of queries and walk-in customers which is a very encouraging trend. A total of 195 applications forms were collected by the SMEs from our offices, out of which 43 have been completed and submitted back to us,' he added.

So far a total of 16 applications have been approved, eight did not meet the eligibility criteria and 19 applications are in-process pending completion of some support documents, Al-Awadhi said.

The Labour Fund and Shamil Bank of Bahrain jointly launched Nibrass last August - an enticing financing scheme, targeting Small and Medium Enterprises at a record low profit rate of four per cent% per annum (on reducing balance).

The Nibrass financing scheme includes packages ranging between BD10,000 ($26,590) and BD50,000 and will be increased to BD100,000, following the completion of the pilot phase. The financing is accessible to SMEs on a first come first serve basis. The pilot phase of the scheme was to serve a batch of maximum 50 applicants who meet the eligibility criteria.

Shamil Bank, a member of the Ithmaar banking group, is providing Sharia-compliant financing to applicants who meet the eligibility criteria set by the Labour Fund and Shamil Bank of Bahrain.

In total BD12.5 million will be made available over the two-year life cycle of the initiative. This vital step comes as part of the Labour Fund's ongoing efforts towards a labour market reform, which is an essential step towards improving the performance of businesses.

The financings are being offered at a discounted rate by Shamil Bank and further subsidised by the Labour Fund, with recipients being given a generous tenor of up to 10-years to repay them.
Eligible SMEs must show strong potential and be at least one year old. They will need to submit their audited accounts to the bank and business plans may also be required for financings above BD50,000.

Applicants must have good credit histories. The Bank is offering a streamlined application system, which allows eligible requests to be quickly and efficiently processed. SMEs can apply at Shamil Bank's main office on the 9th floor of Seef Tower or at any of its branches located throughout the Kingdom of Bahrain. - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Labour Fund | Shamil Bank | Small and Medium Enterprises |

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