Dubai – MENA Herald: National Bonds Corporation, the leading Sharia-compliant, savings and investments company in the UAE, conducted the first monthly draw under its ‘myPlan’ Rewards Program and awarded AED1 million each to an Emirati national and to an expatriate.

Alya’a Al Qubaisi, a UAE National from Abu Dhabi, and Ali Fakhrbadi, an Iranian national residing in Ajman were the winners of the first grand prize draw.

In addition to participants of the myPlan Rewards Program, the draw was open to holders of National Bonds’ single subscription bond of value AED25,000 or above. Besides the grand prize draw, participants were also eligible to enter other supplementary draws.

Launched in August 2015, myPlan Rewards Program is part of National Bonds’ strategy to encourage customers to commit to a monthly saving plan. The program is available with options of 12, 24, and 36 monthly payments and is open to Emiratis, expatriates and non-residents. National Bonds’ customers have the option to commit to the plan through direct debit instructions, payroll deduction, or through standing instructions to their banks.

Analysis of the myPlan Rewards Program data in the last few months has revealed an increase in the number of regular saving transactions from 5,027 in August 2014 to 9,515 transactions for the same month in 2015. Proportionately, the number of regular savers for the same period has also increased from 4,276 last year to 8,249 in 2015. Respondents admit to saving from AED5,000 and above.

National Bonds’ data indicate that the total increase in transactions from the launch of the myPlan Rewards Program in August 2015 till October 2015 is close to 54.25% while the number of regular savers for the same period has risen by 69.91%.

The number of transactions in October 2015 recorded 7,189 compared to 5,988 for the same month in 2014, while in September 2015 the number of transactions reached 7,570 compared to 4,722 for the same period in 2014.

Mohammed Qasim Al-Ali, CEO, National Bonds Corporation, said: “We are witnessing that the savings habits of our UAE customers reflect their willingness to achieve financial stability. The ‘myPlan’ initiative has received a tremendous response in a very short span of time since its launch. The high uptake encourages us to continue promoting financial literacy and inculcating a culture of regular saving in the country.”

Al-Ali added: “We cannot underestimate the role of rewards as an incentive to save. However, our objective is to raise awareness among community members, so that regular saving is motivated by careful planning and with the aim of crisis-proofing the future. We hope to see our customers as excited about saving regularly as they are about winning rewards.

“We will continue to be committed to enhancing the culture of saving. However, we do realize that our road to attaining a financially healthy society that finds its solutions in real and safe investments, and contribtion to the local economy based on sharia principles, is a long one.”

One of the grand prize winners, Alya’a said: “I started saving with National Bonds in 2009. What attracted me the most to the company’s offerings was the lack of a debit card, which puts my savings safely away from the dangers of being withdrawn by me! My savings have so far helped me complete my college education and buy a car. The AED1 million reward has come as a pleasant surprise, and I am seriously contemplating how best to utilize it effectively. I will definitely increase my monthly savings remittance as well.”

She added: “Regular saving is the best way to attain financial stability. It encourages individuals to plan ahead in order to meet all of their needs and wants, without destroying their budgets.”

Ali Fakhrbadi, the second winner of AED1 million, has been a National Bonds customer since 2008. He funded his MBA degree through his savings with National Bonds.

He said: “Saving regularly became a necessity for me as it helped me meet my personal demands and those of the family. Life is full of surprises especially if you are married and have children. My three children have also learned to save regularly, and even my wife has finally been convinced of the importance of saving. She decided to join me in saving with National Bonds in 2014.”

National Bonds also launched its Sukuk Express service at the start of 2015 as part of its efforts to facilitate saving. This service enables National Bonds customers to deposit money in their account at any time and from anywhere through quick payment machines. These machines are spread over 1,000 locations in the UAE and the customer can deposit up to AED20,000 at a time.