RIYADH: A group of real estate experts and specialists in the housing and financing sector stressed the importance of FinTech’s role in developing the mortgage financing market in Saudi Arabia. The experts were speaking during the “What is The Role of FinTech in The Mortgage Market?" session at the 2nd Annual Saudi Housing Finance Conference held this week in Riyadh.
The panel discussion was attended by Mr. Mansour Bin Madi, Adviser to the Director General, Real Estate Development Fund; Abdulelah Al Al-Shaikh, CEO of Saudi Home Loans; Muhab Benten, Director General, Building Technology Stimulus Initiative in the Ministry of Housing; Abdullatif Al Abdullatif, VP of Digital Transformation in the National Digital Transformation Unit; and Nejoud Al Mulaik, Director of FinTech Saudi. During the session they discussed how FinTech can support the financial ecosystem of the country and help Saudi Arabia become a hub for financial technologies that benefit banks, investors, companies, universities, and all government organizations, as well as increase digital financial transactions.
They also demonstrated how FinTech would contribute to the development of the mortgage financing market and help beneficiaries to find the perfect home. The panellists pointed out that FinTech will contribute to entrepreneurship, job creation, and human capital development. The participants in the panel discussion pointed out that FinTech will play a crucial role in protecting the data of mortgage beneficiaries, as well as contribute to the transfer of ownership and digitalizing of government procedures, which is in line with Vision 2030.
The REDF conference also tackled the issue that prevents the mortgage market from developing during a panel discussion entitled “Building a vibrant and sustainable housing finance sector”. The session was attended by H.H Saud Bin Talal Al Saud, Adviser to the Minster and General Supervisor, Ministry Agency for Housing Support and Branches and International Cooperation; Mazin Al Ghunaim, CEO of Bidaya Home Finance; Sultan Al Hamidi, VP & Head of Consumer Assets Division in Bank Al Jazira; Mahmoud Dahduli, Head of Retail Sector in REDF; Maren Kasper, Acting President, EVP & COO at Ginnie Mae; and Fabrice Susini, CEO of the Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company.
During the session, the participants discussed how 68% of Saudi citizens benefit from mortgage finance or bank loans. They also highlighted examples of the policies needed to support the sustainability of the housing finance sector in the Saudi market. In addition, they presented some international case studies and discussed the importance of educating homebuyers.
During the last session entitled "Investment opportunities in the Saudi housing sector", the panellists talked about the importance for seizing investments opportunities in the Saudi housing market, which is valued at nearly one trillion Saudi Riyals. In addition, the budget allocated to finance projects with new building technologies reached nearly SAR 14 billion. This session was attended by Tareq Almusharaf, Investment and Treasury, Division Director in REDF; Walid Alhazzaa, Real Estate Development Adviser in the Ministry of Housing; Mona Alnemer, Manager, Investment Products Issuance Department in the Capital Market Authority; Wassim Bou-Ghanem, Adviser to the CEO, Khair Capital; and Abdulfattah Kurdi, Director – Head of Real Estate in Raidah Investment Company.
The Real Estate Development Fund (REDF) was established by Royal Decree on the 1st of July, 1974. It started its operations in 1975 with the purpose of achieving the greatest aspirations of citizens to own adequate and comfortable housing thereby contributing to the development of modern housing and residential complexes throughout the Kingdom. REDF’s headquarter is located in the city of Riyadh and has 40 branches spread across the kingdom. The fund started with an initial capital of SR 250 million which was increased several times reaching about SR 183 billion by the end of 2011, making it one of the largest mortgage institutions in the world. Since its inception, the Real Estate Development Fund (REDF) has been the main source of affordable housing financing in Saudi Arabia. Over the past forty years, the REDF has served over one million families under a direct lending model.
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