Saudi Credit Bureau (SIMAH) and Standard & Poor's launched National Data Pooling Project (NDPP)

Joint Press Release

Riyadh ? London, February 2 2009

Saudi Credit Bureau (SIMAH) and Standard & Poor's, the leading provider of financial market intelligence, independent ratings, indices, investment research and data across the Middle East?s credit risks launched today the National Data Pooling Project (NDPP) and signed a contract in Riyadh. SIMAH was represented by its General Manager Mr. Nabil Abdullah Al-Mubarak, Standard & Poor?s by Mr. David Pearce, Managing Director of McGraw-Hill International (UK) Ltd and Mr. Bernard O?Sullivan, Managing Director and Head of Standard & Poor?s Risk Solutions in Europe, Middle East & Africa.

In this context, Nabil Al-Mubarak stated that the project comes as the final step in the framework of specialized projects for measuring credit risks, which would enable all participating member banks to fulfill all requirements of Basel II capital adequacy issued in 2005, referring to the fact that the Kingdom has already been implementing Basel II Capital Standards since 2006, and welcoming at the same time the strategic relationship with Standard & Poor's.

Al-Mubarak clarified that the idea of this project goes back more than two years when all Saudi banks came to comprehend the dire need to build a common national database accurately to meet the requirements of the minimum standard for capital adequacy of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision in June 2004 (Basel II). ?SIMAH has been assigned by the banks to study the best possible options, revise them scientifically, submit them in the form of an integrated project and develop technical models that can be applied to all Saudi banks so as to measure risks ?, he added. ?Based on that, Al-Mubarak continued, SIMAH has conducted extensive studies to determine the requirements, know the banks' capabilities, analyze all other experiences in this regard and finally determine the entity that could carry out this project as a technical partner?.

He went on and signified that all measures have been set out to agree on the mechanisms of selecting the best technical partner in the world. ?Accordingly, SIMAH sent out all offers to the companies interested and we chose Standard & Poor's Risk Solutions. Negotiations continued for more than a year to reach a partnership formula that suited the project and to realize all desired objectives according to clear-cut strategies,? Al-Mubarak said.

He also emphasized that among the objectives of the project is to provide a unified standard of the Possibility of Default (PD) and Loss Given Default (LGD) via standardized tools based on all credit data along with all related financial information available at participating member banks. ? These standards altogether stand for the major components to measure credit risks used in Basel II Applications related to the Advanced Approach to measure credit risks? SIMAH's General Manager added.

He pointed out that SIMAH is the sole owner of and the developer of the project while the main role of the technical partner represented by Standard & Poor's is to develop it. "The project lasts for four years, requiring huge financial and technical investments that may go beyond more than Rls five hundred million" Al-Mubarak said.

?This is a very important alliance for Standard & Poor?s and our Risk Solutions business, and we are delighted to be working with SIMAH and its participating member banks on such a crucial project,? said Deven Sharma, President of Standard & Poor?s. ?S&P is fully committed to supporting the ongoing development of banking and capital markets in the KSA through out a strategic relationship with SIMAH, drawing on our wide range of data and analytical capabilities, and I look forward to extending this relationship to many other credit risk related activities in the coming years?.

?We believe the initiative taken by SIMAH is a very positive example to others and will have attractive and far reaching benefits for the participating member banks and investors in the region.? said Bernard O?Sullivan, Managing Director and Head of Standard & Poor?s Risk Solutions in Europe, Middle East & Africa.