Dubai Banks Offer Relief to Clients Impacted By Coronovirus
Leading Dubai banks have announced a series of relief measures for customers affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The relief measures come under the directives of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The measures announced by the banks seek to support the UAE Government and the UAE Central Bank’s six-month economic stimulus package and the Dubai Government’s three-month economic stimulus package to sustain the business sector in the UAE and Dubai.
Leading Dubai banks that have joined the effort to provide relief to their customers include Emirates NBD, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates Islamic, Mashreq and Commercial Bank of Dubai.
“Our measures to support and protect our stakeholders, as part of our Group-wide business resilience and continuity plans, are aligned with the directives of the Dubai leadership to develop solutions for defusing any obstacle that can potentially hinder our progress. We recognise the need to protect those most vulnerable and are committed to lending a helping hand during this uncertain time,” said Sheikh Ahmad bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates NBD.
Relief measures by conventional and Islamic banks encompass, retail, small and medium enterprises and large businesses.
Relief from conventional banks
Retail loan customers who have been placed on unpaid leave by their employers can approach the bank for repayment holiday of up to three months with zero interest and fees.
Customers who have availed personal loans, auto loans or mortgages can apply for a one-month repayment holiday with zero fees.
All first time home buyers can benefit from a 5 per cent increase in the Loan-to-Value ratio (LTV) and full waiver of processing fees.
Banks will offer refund of charges on cash withdrawals done using debit cards on all ATMs of other banks across the UAE.
Additionally credit card customers can benefit from interest-free installment plans for all school fee payments as well as grocery purchases with no processing fees for up to 6 months. This is in addition to existing attractive low interest, installment plans available for higher tenors across all retail purchases.
As part of the package retail customers who may need to cancel their travel bookings done on their credit and debit cards will receive a refund of the foreign currency transaction fees charged by the bank. Customers using credit cards for cash withdrawals will enjoy 50 per cent reduction in the cash advance charges.
Small business customers who have availed merchant loans, equipment loans or business vehicle loans and have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 situation, can apply for a repayment holiday of 3 months with zero interest and fees.
Bank have also reduced the monthly minimum balance required for basic business banking account to Dh10,000. Also the minimum balance charges for the basic business banking account will be waived for a period of 3 months.
Business and wholesale banking
Business banking customers with working capital are asked to contact their respective relationship managers to achieve an optimal financial solution.
For wholesale banking clients relief measures prioritise key industry sectors contributing to the UAE economy that have been most affected in the current situation, including healthcare, aviation, hospitality, retail, event management, consumer goods and education, by offering refinancing, repayment deferrals or lower repayments where required.
Reduced bank charges for digital trade transactions for all trade finance customers. Customers using the digital platforms are offered a significant reduction in transaction processing and handling fees and new activations at zero cost for the next three months.
The banks are also providing their customers with enhanced credit and trade lines to manage ongoing operational costs.
Banks have announced support for affected customers trading in the UAE bourses by offering suitable instalment payment plans against additional collateral to help them regularise their margin trading positions. Respective Relationship Managers will continue to work alongside and support customers faced with margin calls on their share portfolios.
Relief From Islamic Banks
Keeping up with their conventional counterparts, Islamic banks too have announced a host of relief measures for their customers.
“In these unprecedented times, strong and decisive actions are critical to sustain the economy. Led by the example set by the leadership of the UAE, and the timely and precise financial relief package unveiled by the regulator, we, at DIB are prepared to act quickly and effectively to ensure that our customers are fully supported in this period and the economic burden created by the COVID-19 outbreak is minimized as far as possible,” Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, Director-General of His Highness The Ruler’s Court of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Islamic Bank.
Debit Cardholders can now withdraw cash for free from any other Banks’ ATMs in the UAE. Customers using credit cards for cash withdrawals will enjoy 50 per cent reduction in the cash advance charges While credit cardholders can avail 0 per cent easy payment plans (EPP) on school fee transactions with zero processing fee the can avail special pricing on EPP & cash on Call, and 0 per cent balance transfers. Cardholders can also request refunds on foreign currency charges related to Travel/Hotel cancellations.
Financially impacted customers (unpaid leave, other valid reasons) can request up to 3 deferred monthly installments without fees and profit charges. In addition banks also will offer consolidation solution upon request. Finance to property value for first-time home buyers increased by 5 per cent.
For priority banking customers, Islamic banks will work alongside and support those who are faced with margin calls on their shares portfolio. The two banks encourage members facing this situation to get in touch with their relationship managers.
Banks have announced waiver of minimum balance fee for maintaining a minimum balance requirement of Dh10,000, until 30 June 2020. In addition, deferment of three months instalment upon request for clients with a Business Finance facility and affected customers with finance facilities from the two (Islamic) banks can avail restructuring
Customers with working capital facilities who are impacted by the ongoing Covid19 situation can contact their relationship managers to achieve an optimal solution.
Relief measures will support key sectors affected by the Covid 19 situation by offering need-based refinancing, repayment deferrals or lower repayments where required.
Islamic banks are also offering reduced charges for digital trade transactions for all trade finance customers. Customers using the digital platforms can get a significant reduction in transaction processing and handling fees and new digital platforms activations at zero cost for the next three months.