National Finance: Enhancing Digital Capabilities

National-FinanceNational Finance, established in 1987, has built a reputation as the market leader, trusted by thousands of customers across the Sultanate of Oman, for their financing needs. The company offers a wide range of products targeting both individual customers and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), through an extensive geographical presence across 20 branches and its e-channel platforms. Headquartered at Muscat, National Finance has won top awards in the Oman market.

National Finance talks about the company’s strategic roadmap, enhancement of its digital capabilities and the future outlook

What have been the major highlights in the last one year?

National Finance aspires to be the preferred provider of personal and business financial services in the Sultanate of Oman, through a customer experience that is Fast, Easy and Flexible. Such ease of accessibility while building long-term relationships is enabled through National Finance’s e-channel services, available through its call center, website, mobile app and WhatsApp.

Despite tough economic conditions and challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, our company remains the largest finance and leasing company in the Sultanate in terms of asset size, branch network, revenues and profit. Our constant investment and development of our e-channels has been a key achievement in the past year.

What steps have you taken to ensure optimum customer experience for retail and corporate customers?

Customer centricity is at the heart of National Finance’s business practices. The company has invested into several initiatives to give customers an experience that is Fast, Easy and Flexible. At National Finance, we understand that today technology plays a big role in influencing customer decisions. This is why we constantly innovate and invest in solutions that focus on ease and convenience, supporting our vision of being ‘Partners in Progress’ of individuals and companies. From easy documentation, quick approvals and most importantly providing loans and financial support to underbanked individuals and SMEs, National Finance is aiming to reach out to the people of Oman and supporting them with their financial needs.

With a network of 20 branches across major cities and governorates, and digital platforms, National Finance provides ease of engagement with their clients. The company has recently opened new state-of-the-art branches with value-added services that cater to enhance the customer experience journey.

The company is also advanced when it comes to E-channels. Individuals can apply for their financing through different channels such as; website, mobile app, call centre, whatsapp and social media. Despite all these multiple channels, the customers at National Finance go through one seamless experience.

We empower our sales team to use mobile technology to process transaction at the dealer or customer office and revert back on the approval decision on the spot.

What role has technology played in ensuring uninterrupted and satisfactory customer services during the pandemic period?

The shift toward digital channels was already on the way. COVID-19 merely accelerated the change. The pandemic posed unprecedented challenges to customers as well as to the organization. With physical interaction coming to a standstill, it was important to innovate and ensure that our services continue to be provided to customers. At National Finance, we strive to bring new experiences and focus on ease of accessibility. With digital platforms continuing to play a pivotal role in reaching out to customers, National Finance enhanced its e-channels to connect   with   the   customers and enhance their engagement.

We had already been investing in enhancing our digital channels through our upgraded website and mobile application. Consequently, we were able to shift our customers to digital channels very quickly. We have a complete servicing capability through mobile application, the fact that we have a full-fledged call center also helps us offer quality remote service to our customers.

Our approach is to offer a seamless customer experience irrespective of what channel our customer chooses to interact with, via mobile, website, call center or physical branch. Our philosophy is to make it easy and comfortable for the customer to reach us whether to take a new loan, to make an inquiry or to make a payment.

What is your outlook for the future?

Our Company has a diversified geographical presence across Oman, coupled with a broad product profile and we are well positioned to meet the financing requirements of both the Retail and SME segments. We anticipate slower credit offtake in the medium term with a need to balance credit risk with market growth. We will continue to strengthen our leadership position in Oman while offering our customers an optimal experience.

We continue to adopt a conservative approach to credit approvals keeping in view the overall macroeconomic scenario and perceived increase in credit risk. Within this policy, our approach has been to target customers who satisfy our credit risk appetite. We anticipate a cautious outlook to our credit offtake in the medium term and overall, our reading is that the economic climate will continue to remain challenging.

In a fast-changing, competitive market place, it is vital that we leverage on technology to empower field sales staff to use mobile technology to process transactions at the dealer/customer office and revert with a decision on the spot. It would also help us better utilize our sales force, thereby letting us use our back-end processing team more effectively. Another area where we intend to utilize technology is to provide the facility for customers to raise service requests through internet/mobile phones that would not only improve the overall customer experience, but would also reduce the reliance and overhead expenditure on customer support functions while promoting self-service and ensuring 24/7 availability.

We strongly believe that commitment to our core values of customer service, flexibility and employee development will enable us to capture a fair share of the market.

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