Electronic Check Clearing Goes Live in Oman with ProgressSoft's Image-Based Clearing Solution

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The Central Bank of Oman (CBO) started today electronic clearing of checks across banks in the Sultanate of Oman with the live-run of the Electronic Image-based Check Clearing solution (PS-ECC), provided by ProgressSoft Corporation, the leading provider of real-time payments and imaging solutions for the financial sector.

Ever-committed to furnish an advanced banking environment, CBO opted for ProgressSoft's solution, PS-ECC, to enact a sophisticated level of check clearing practices across the Omani banking body. This nationwide project entailed deploying an electronic network to connect CBO with all the Sultanate's 16 banks and their branches scattered over the 212,457 square kilometers.

"From the beginning, ProgressSoft has conveyed an unwavering commitment to achieving successful implementation, deployment and live-run of its electronic check clearing system across the full scope of the project," expressed Mr Jamal Al Raisi, Payment Systems Department Manager - Central Bank of Oman. While dealing with the geographical challenges of covering remotely located bank branches, ProgressSoft managed to expediently conclude the project in a period that did not exceed 13 months.

With the new solution, an electronic exchange of check images and data will replace the traditional clearing process in Oman which used to take up to 7 days, during which manual clearing sessions were held daily at geographically dispersed clearing centers. Employing a T+0 clearing schedule, PS-ECC will enable funds at the beneficiary's account to be available within the same day of depositing the check.

In addition to reducing the tedious and time consuming manual method by 65%, PS-ECC comes with an array of added-value benefits.

"The substantial impacts of this project will be felt across multiple levels, starting with the Oman banking body, which can now experience time and effort saving, cost efficiencies and enhanced cash flow management. At the clientele level, the public stands to enjoy better services when depositing their checks and expedited availability of their funds". Mr. Iqbal Ali Khamis - Senior Vice President and Chairman EFT Project Committee, Central Bank of Oman.

"The considerably shortened clearing cycle also accelerates availability of 'Bad Check' information and fraudulent item detection" explained Mr Michael Wakileh, Chief Executive Officer - ProgressSoft Corporation. This highly secure environment would ultimately result in leveraging the confidence of the check payment instrument and the credibility of the financial system in Oman, added Wakileh.

CBO candidly expressed their confidence in ProgressSoft's capabilities and satisfaction in the rendered results. "Throughout the past 13 months, ProgressSoft's staff has exploited their proficient technical background and rich experience to meet our business requirements and render timely deliverables. Today, upon this rewarding partnership with ProgressSoft, we managed to conclude a success story and a nationwide banking milestone," affirmed Al Raisi. While being recognized as the world-first provider of electronic image-based check clearing since 2001, ProgressSoft has been boasting proven expertise and an impressive record of 140 banks effectively operating the solution, along with numerous successful nationwide implementations in several countries, including Qatar, Jordan and Sudan.

[About CBO]

The Central Bank of Oman was established in December 1974 and began operations on the 1st of April 1975. It replaced the Oman Currency Board as the principal currency authority in Oman. The Central Bank of Oman is responsible for maintaining the stability of the national currency, the Omani Riyal and ensuring monetary and financial stability in a deregulated and open financial system. The capital base of the CBO which was one million Omani Riyals at the commencement of operations in 1975, was strengthened over time and since April 2002 has remained at R0300 million. At the end of 2005, CBO's assets/liabilities totaled RO 1826.4 million.

[About ProgressSoft]

Established in 1989, ProgressSoft has been focusing its proficiency in Real-time Payments and Imaging technologies to deliver a set of innovative solutions tailored for the needs of the banking and financial sectors with a diversified clientele in 22 countries around the globe. ProgressSoft specializes in Real-time e-payment solutions offering Electronic Image-based Check Clearing, Real-time Settlement for Securities Trading, ACH - Direct Debit and Direct Credit solutions and also excels in Imaging Technologies such as the Intelligent Signature Recognition and the Financial Document Recognition solutions.

For more information, please contact:
Yazan A. Goldstein
Corporate Communications Executive
ProgressSoft Corporation
Tel: +962 6 56 23 000 Ext. 211
Fax: +962 6 56 90 564
Email: Yazan.Goldstein@progressoft.com

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