Dubai banks relief package for you and businesses

By Eudore R. Chand

DUBAI 22 March 2020: Dubai banks have come together to offer a relief package to help their customers ease financial pressures in the current economic environment caused by the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

The move is under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai,

The measures announced by the banks seek to support the UAE Government and the UAE Central Bank six-month economic stimulus package and the Dubai Government three-month economic stimulus package to support the business sector in the UAE and Dubai. Leading Dubai banks that have joined the effort to provide relief to their customers include:

  1. Emirates NBD
  2. Dubai Islamic Bank
  3. Emirates Islamic
  4. Mashreq and
  5. Commercial Bank of Dubai

Measures by commercial banks with effect from 1 April to 30 June, 2020 (Emirates NBD, Mashreq and Commercial Bank of Dubai).

Individual customers:

  • 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% increase in the Loan-to-Value ratio (LTV) and full waiver of processing fees.
  • A refund of charges on cash withdrawals done using debit cards on all ATMs of other banks across the UAE.
  • 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.
  • 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% reduction in the cash advance charges.

Small Business Customers:

  • 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.
  • Reduction of 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 Banking Customers: Business Banking customers with working capital facilities who are impacted by the ongoing Covid 19 situation are encouraged to contact their respective relationship managers to achieve an optimal financial solution.

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.

Trading clients:

  • The 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.

Measures by Islamic Banks with effect from 1 April to 30 June, 2020 (Dubai Islamic Bank and Emirates Islamic).

Individual Customers and Cardholders:

  • Customers who have availed personal finance, auto finance or mortgages can apply for a one-month repayment holiday with zero fees./
  • 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% reduction in the cash advance charges.
  • Credit Cardholders can avail 0% Easy Payment Plans (EPP) on school fee transactions with zero processing fee.
  • Credit Cardholders can benefit from special pricing on EPP & Cash on Call, and 0% on Balance Transfers.
  • Cardholders can request refunds on foreign currency charges related to Travel/Hotel cancellations.

Customers with Existing and New Finance Facilities:

  • Financially impacted customers (unpaid leave, other valid reasons) can request up to 3 deferred monthly installments without fees and profit charges.
  • Debt consolidation solution can be provided upon request.
  • Finance to property value for first-time home buyers increased by 5% (up to 85% for UAE Nationals & up to 80% for Expatriates).

Priority Banking Customers: Priority Banking Relationship Managers are always available to support customers.

Margin Calls for customers trading on stock market: The two 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 to discuss and agree on optimal solutions.

Business Banking Customers: Digital Account Package:

  • Waiver of minimum balance fee for maintaining a minimum balance requirement of Dh10,000, until 30 June 2020.
  • Deferment of three months instalment upon request for clients with a Business Finance facility.
  • Commercial Banking customers with Finance facilities from the two banks and whose businesses are affected by the current situation, can contact their Relationship Manager, to discuss restructuring solutions.
  • Customers can benefit from all the advanced features of the two banks’ digital platforms at discounted rates.

Wholesale Banking customers: Customers with working capital facilities who are impacted by the ongoing Covid19 situation are encouraged to contact their respective 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.
  • 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.
  • Customers will also be encouraged to use the two banks’ digital platforms for their Cash Management needs at considerably reduced charges.

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates NBD said: “The health, safety and economic well-being of our customers and the community are our highest priority. 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.”

Branches Open

The Dubai banks have also announced that all their branches continue to remain open to serve customers. The banks have undertaken precautionary measures across their branch network, ATM & cash deposit machine locations, including additional deep cleaning and sterilisation protocols. Furthermore, they have implemented training on safety guidelines, social interaction and preventative hygiene practices for all frontline staff.

The banks are also encouraging customers to bank safely via their digital banking platforms. Customers practicing social distancing can carry out everyday transactions such as making transfers, remitting funds or paying bills conveniently via the Mobile Banking Apps or Online Banking platforms.

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