Several banks in Dubai have agreed to offer their customers loan repayment holidays and reduced charges to help reduce the impact of the corona virus outbreak on their finances and relieve economic pressure.
As a result of the pandemic, the global economy has been heavily affected, disrupting trade and the tourism industry, which happens to be one of Dubai’s major income generators.
The selected banks include: Emirates NBD, Dubai Islamic bank, Emirates Islamic, Mashreq, and Commercial Bank of Dubai.
“The banks have agreed to introduce a series of support measures that will remain in effect for three months starting April 1st 2020”, the Dubai government media office stated on Saturday 21st March 2020.
The measures support the plans that have already been put in place by the UAE government to keep the UAE safe and prosperous.
“We recognize the need to protect those most vulnerable and are committed to lending a helping hand during this uncertain time”, the Emirates NBD chairman, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed said.
The relief measures that were put to help retail loan customers, businesses and SMEs include the following:
- Retail loan customers that were placed on unpaid leave by their employers can approach the banks for repayment holidays of up to three months with zero interest and fees.
- Those who have taken out personal loans, auto loans, or mortgages can apply for a one-month repayment holiday with no fees
- For mortgage clients, the banks are offering all first-time homebuyers a 5% increase in the Loan-to-Value ratio (LTV) and full waiver of processing fees.
- Customers will also be able to get a refund of charges on cash withdrawals using debit cards on ATMs of other banks across the UAE.
- Credit card customers will be allowed interest-free installment plans for all school fee payments as well as grocery purchases with no processing fees for up to 6 months.
- Customers who cancel their travel bookings that were previously done through credit and debit cards, will receive a refund of the foreign currency transaction fees already charged by the bank.
- Customers using credit cards for cash withdrawals will have to pay half cash advance charges.
- SME clients, who have availed merchant, equipment or business vehicle loans, have been given an option to apply for a repayment holiday of three months with zero interest and fees.
- The monthly minimum balance required for basic business banking accounts has been reduced to Dh 10,000 and the minimum balance charges have been reduced for three months.
- For wholesale banking, lenders are prioritizing relief measures for key industry sectors contributing to the UAE economy that have been most affected in the current situation, including health care, aviation, hospitality, retail, event management, consumer goods and education by offering refinancing, repayment deferrals or lower repayments where required.
- Digital trade transactions, trade finance customers, and enhanced credit and trade line bank charges have been reduced.
- Customers trading in the UAE stock markets have been offered suitable installment payment plans against additional collateral to help them regularize their margin trading positions.
The move by these banks follows announcements earlier this week by First Abu Dhabi Bank, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, offering a number of similar support measures to their customers.
“We fully recognize the importance of assisting our customers in these challenging times through those relief measures and we place the highest priority on ensuring the welfare and happiness of the society and all those living in the country”, said the chairman of Mashreq Bank – Mr. Abdul al Ghurair.