The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) works on increasing the level of financial inclusion in the Kingdom. It is one of its strategic goal that it seeks to accomplish through the enabling accessibility of individuals and establishments to the authorized financial services and products and to incorporate them in the official financial system ensuring the protection of clients and oversees fairness and transparency among clients.
Financial Inclusion is an effective means of enhancing stability, deepening and diversifying of financial systems and supports opportunities for sustainable development. SAMA attaches great importance to the enhancing of financial inclusion In the Kingdom in line with Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and its operational programs.
The 27th of April coincides with the Arab Day of Financial Inclusion for the Arab countries under the theme ‘Sustainable Development’. On this occasion, SAMA affirms the importance of Financial inclusion in the development of the financial sector and the necessity of exerting efforts to promote it in the Arab countries in order to contribute to achieving sustainable development plans.
In this context, SAMA, in cooperation with other concerned parties, is working to enhance the financial inclusion in the Kingdom, especially to enhance the access of individuals and small and medium enterprises to financial services and to facilitate access to financing services. Among the prominent goals that SAMA wishes to obtain are the increasing of SMEs contribution up to 35% of GDP, raising the percentage of funding to 20% as well as increasing the number of adults with a bank account to 90%.
One of the most notable efforts to this end is the issuance of bank tariff that specified the fees for banking services and the upper limit of charges and commissions that banks are entitled to apply when providing services and products. In addition, it prevents requesting financial charges or depositing funds to open bank accounts to encourage individuals to open their accounts and benefit from it. Moreover, SAMA issued the rules governing banking agency activities, which allows banks to use qualified agents to provide financial services on their behalf in areas where there is no bank cover or with limited availability of banking services, with the aim of diversifying channels of access to financial services by different sorts of society members.
SAMA has also launched recently the experimental regulatory (Sandbox) to understand and assess the impact of new technologies in the Kingdoms’ financial services market by allowing local and international companies wishing to test new digital solutions to enter into an actual environment in order to launch them in the Kingdom in the future. This initiative contributes to the promotion of innovation in the delivery of financial and digital payment services and assist financial institutions and financial technology companies to experience their innovative products with reduced controls, which will have a positive impact on the financial sector to improve and facilitate transaction procedures, reduce the cost and enhance financial inclusion. One of the important outcomes of the sandbox was allowing the bank account to be opened electronically without the need to visit bank branches and allowing the use of digital portfolios that enable customers to carry out financial operation via mobile phone.
In conclusion, on this occasion, SAMA stresses the importance of enhancing the level of financial inclusion in the Kingdom for its role in the promotion of financial stability and the diversifying of the financial system and its role in supporting opportunities for economic growth. Finally, SAMA assured that it will continue its efforts to achieve these strategic goals in line with Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and contributes to the realization of its development programs and plans.