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    SAMA Extends Crisis Relief, Issues Crowdfunding & IT Governance Rules

    January 12, 2022

    The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) extended the Deferred Payment Program for three additional months from January 01, 2022 to March 31, 2022 for the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that continue to be affected by the COVID-19 precautionary measures. It also launched the first version of the Open Data Platform, which contains economic, financial, and monetary statistics and indicators for Saudi Arabia. The Open Data Platform offers a number of features, including displaying data, indicators, and charts directly on the platform as well as browsing detailed data in a tree data structure. SAMA plans to develop and improve the services and features of the Open Data Platform, including adding an Application Programming Interface (API) to the platform. In addition, the SAMA publications cover rules on the electronic issuance and authenticity verification of banking documents, the activities of crowdfunding loan platforms, and the information technology, or IT, governance framework.

    Governing rules for electronic issuance and authenticity verification of banking documents. These rules aim to develop electronic services provided to banking sector clients by improving their quality and effectiveness in accordance with best practices applied. The rules specify that a bank ought to use technical systems to process client requests to issue all banking documents and it shall issue banking documents electronically in Arabic and, at the request of the client, in English. Also, a bank shall provide a service to electronically verify the authenticity of all electronic and paper documents. The bank shall state in the documents issued the method used to electronically verify their authenticity and shall set procedures and measures that guarantee compliance with these rules. These rules shall be effective from April 01, 2022.

    Updated rules for practicing debt crowdfunding activities. The updated rules aim to redefine the beneficiary to include all commercial establishments registered in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that seek to obtain financing through a "debt crowdfunding platform" and to add the definition of aggregate accounts to ensure complete separation between the funds of the participants in the financing process and the funds of the crowdfunding facility. The rules also aim to support determination of the allowed ceiling for crowdfunding, based on the capital criterion.

    Information technology governance framework. SAMA issued this framework to enable the organizations it regulates to effectively identify and address information technology risks. The framework will be used to periodically assess the maturity level and evaluate the effectiveness of the information technology controls. The framework defines principles and objectives for initiating, implementing, maintaining, monitoring, and improving information technology governance controls. The framework sets out information technology governance controls requirements that are applicable to the information assets of organizations. Additionally, the framework provides direction for information technology governance requirements for organizations and its subsidiaries, staff, third parties, and customers. The framework is a supplementary document to the other regulatory guidelines issued by SAMA to ensure availability, resilience, and security of information technology infrastructure.

     

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    Keywords: Middle East and Africa, Saudi Arabia, Banking, SME, Open Data Platform, COVID-19, Governance, Crowdfunding, Regtech, Fintech, Crowdfunding Service Providers, Credit Risk, Lending, Payment Deferrals, Fraud Detection, API, SAMA

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