Amid the Coronavirus outbreak in the UAE, Dubai’s government has announced a business support package for its residents. This support package is part of the relief measures that the authorities are taking in their fight against the global pandemic.
The five major banks of Dubai – Emirates NBD, Dubai Islamic Bank, Mashreq Bank, Emirates Islamic, and Commercial Bank of Dubai – rolled out a multitude of relief mechanisms for their individual and corporate consumers to mitigate the effect of Coronavirus.
The relief package, which will begin from April 1st to June 30th, has been declared on the directives of His Royal Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, The Vice President and The Prime Minister of the UAE and The Ruler of Dubai.
In addition to that, the Central Bank of the UAE’s instructions is also in line with this directive. The bank has already announced a stimulus package of DH100 billion in support of its customers and levy their woes in their time of need.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates NBD, and Chief Executive of the Emirates Group, said that:
“We understand the need to protect the people who can easily fall prey to the COVID-19 and thus, are the most vulnerable and therefore are wholeheartedly committed to giving a helping hand to them during this unpredictable time.”
The newly introduced relief package caters to individual and corporate customers separately as they know that their demands and needs are distinctive from one another.
For individual customers such as sole proprietors, part-timers, freelancers, employees, daily wagers, budding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and home-based business owners, etc. The three major commercial banks announced that those employees who have been placed on unpaid leave by their companies could request them for restitution of up to three months with zero interest and charges.
They are also giving a one-month repayment leave with zero expense on personal loans, automobile loans, and mortgages to people.
Besides, patrons will also receive a refund on prices on cash withdrawals done by debit cards on all ATMs and other banks.
Credit card consumers can derive benefit from interest-free installment programs laid out by the bank to ease the payment of school fees. Also, credit card holders can make grocery purchases with no additional processing fees for up to six months thanks to the relief package. These measures are in addition to existing irresistibly attractive low interest, installment plans available for our customers for all retail acquisitions, the banks said in their joint announcement.
Furthermore, those clients who want to revoke their travel and flight bookings done on their credit or debit cards will get a full refund of the foreign currency transaction fees imposed by the bank. Further, clients using credit cards for cash withdrawals will have a fifty percent reduction in the cash advance fees.
First-time home buyers will derive benefit from a five percent raise in loan-to-value ratio and a full waiver on processing charges.
The Chairman of NBD Bank further stated that:
“We were amongst the first to recognize the needs and demands of our consumers, and the measures we are taking will supplement and enhance the reduced charges we already put in place for our corporate banking customers a fortnight ago.”
Earlier, Abu Dhabi-based banks have also announced similar measures to help and support their retail and corporate customers.
While disclosing details of incentives for small and medium businesses, the three commercial banks said those clients who have availed merchant, equipment, or business vehicle loans and have been heavily affected by the ongoing Coronavirus situation could apply for compensation or repayment plan of three months with zero interest and additional fees.
Moreover, the three banks have reduced the monthly minimum balance requirement for basic business banking accounts to Dh10,000. The minimum balance charges for the basic business banking account will be waived for three months.
For large corporates, the three banks are extending refinancing repayment deferrals or lower payments where needed. They are also offering to reduce bank charges for trade finance clients as well as enhanced credit and trade lines to handle their operational costs.
Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), the country’s largest Shariah-compliant bank, offered a slew of measures to ease the pain of its customers that are greatly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the relief measures are as follows.
- A one-month repayment holiday on all individual loans,
- Free cash withdrawal from any other banks’ ATMs,
- Fifty percent decrease in bank charges for those customers who use a credit card for cash withdrawals and
- Zero processing fee on payment of school fees, among other things.
DIB said current and new customers impacted by COVID-19 and facing unpaid leave or any other monetary difficulties could request up to three postponed monthly installments without any additional fees and profit charges. Likewise, debt consolidation will be presented to the bank upon its request.
The moneylenders will work alongside and help and support those investors who are faced with margin calls on their shares portfolio.
Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, Director-General of His Royal Highness The Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Islamic Bank, said that:
“DIB is combat-ready to act quickly and efficiently to ensure that our customers are fully supported in this troubling period, and the economic burden created by the COVID-19 outbreak is shared equally between the banks and the customers fairly.
In this regard, we have taken the necessary actions to ensure both the physical and financial health and security of our entire client base is maintained. Plus, we have assured everyone that we remain dedicated to the UAE and all its residents as a trusted and reliable business and financial partner.”
Humaid Al Qutami, Chairman of Commercial Bank of Dubai, stated that the measures are entirely aligned under the supervision of the government and the Central Bank of the UAE to assure the clients that we will continue our operations successfully.
He further added:
“The combination of deferring payments, lessening or suspending selected fees, and supporting those whose jobs have been affected will allow corporations and individuals throughout the UAE to weather these unprecedented trials and tribulations together. We urge our clients to reach out to us, preferably through digital modes of communication, to utilize the relief package implemented to its fullest.”
Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim, The Chairman of Emirates Islamic, said that the Emirates Islamic Bank would proceed to create significant and meaningful additional measures to help and support those who are affected most with the Coronavirus outbreak.”
Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, The Chairman of Mashreq Bank, said this relief package would decrease the risk to an extent that is faced by many consumers. Including being exposed to temporary cash-flow shortfalls and no means of earning during this troublesome period.
He also said:
“Following this announcement, banks will display more flexibility to stressed consumers throughout this challenging time and will bestow their support towards the retail, SME, and corporate clients by several distinct initiatives targeted at reducing their financial burdens.”
The major Dubai banks have additionally announced that all their branches proceed to remain open to serve their customers. The banks have undertaken necessary precautionary measures against the Coronavirus across all of their branch networks, ATMs and cash deposit machine places, including additional deep cleaning and sterilization protocols for the safety of their customers. And placing hand-sanitizers, disposable gloves, and masks at all their entry and exit points.
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