|21 March, 2020

Covid-19 in UAE: Banks offer installment plans on school fees, loans, card payments

More banks roll out relief measures for individuals, SMEs customers as part of stimulus package.

Close up of United Arab Emirates Currency notes. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Close up of United Arab Emirates Currency notes. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Gettyimages

More banks in the UAE have announced relief measures for their retail and corporate customers to help them overcome challenges from the impact of coronavirus.

So far, three Abu Dhabi banks have announced relief measures while Dubai-based banks are also in the process of announcing relief for their customers soon in line with UAE Central Bank's instructions to provide relief to businesses and individuals in the country.

The UAE Central Bank last week rolled out Dh100 billion stimulus package to support banks and the economy to combat coronavirus impact. It also offered zero interest facility to local banks, asking them to pass on the benefits of this facility to their retail and corporate customers.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (Adib) on Saturday said it is postponing monthly installments for individual customers and asked those impacted by Covid-19 to get in touch with the bank to discuss further support in line with the UAE Central Bank directions.

"Starting April 1, customers will also receive up to five per cent cash back per month on their grocery expenditure and when paying utility bills using any of the Adib Cards for a period of three months. Cardholders will be able to benefit from installment plans on all their card expenditures for a period of six months without any extra charges. Parents will also be able to pay school fees while benefiting from 12 months free of charge installment plans or receive five per cent cashback when paying with any of ADIB's covered cards. In the case of an emergency, ADIB will be offering free temporary limit increases on covered cards and first-time home finance customers will benefit from the five per cent reduction in down payment," it said in a statement on Saturday.

For SME and business banking customers, Adib will offer a 50 per cent discount on charges related to online remittances and cheque book requests. The bank also asked its corporate customers to get in touch with their relationship managers to assess the impact of the Covid-19 on their businesses to provide further support in managing their facilities to ease any liquidity disruption and help sustain their business operations.

"Adib is introducing these measures in alignment with recent UAE government and Central Bank directives to support individuals and businesses impacted by the situation. We recognise that these are challenging times and we want all our customers to be assured that we are here to support them," said Mazin Manna, Group Chief Executive Office at Adib.

First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) also announced measures for customers which will come in to effect from April 1, 2020.

For individual customers directly impacted by Covid-19 outbreak, Fab will defer payments for mortgages, personal loans and auto loans for between 1-3 months. Parents will also receive loans for school fee financing at 0% interest. First-time property buyers using FAB mortgage loans will benefit from a five per cent reduction in down payment.

FAB and Dubai First Credit card customers will benefit from a 50 per cent reduction on late payment fees, and from instalment programs without service fees for tuition and utility bill payments. In addition, credit card holders will also be offered a waiver of foreign exchange fees on cancelled hotel and airline bookings in foreign currencies.

The UAE's largest bank said all customers can also expect to benefit from relief on account fees.

For small and medium businesses, the lender will defer up to three months of instalments for all loan types.

The bank has will also provide laptops worth Dh5 million to students in the UAE to support the UAE's distance learning programme.

"The bank is already proactively working with all customers to ascertain the Covid-19 impact on their cash flows, to provide further support in loan restructuring or deferment. No loan deferments fees will be charged. FAB is offering SMEs special re-payment restructuring of working capital facilities, to ease current cash flow disruptions and help sustain their business operations. The Bank will continue to grant loans to all customers based on the existing policies and will support them by offering up to three months of grace period for the first instalment with lower pricing," the lender said in a statement on its website.

The Bank will also reimburse 50 per cent of the monthly fees on Point of Sale loan (POS) service charges for SME micro and small merchants. Furthermore, fees for loans under the Ghadan 21 initiative have been reduced.

"We have taken a series of concrete and practical measures to support our individual, small business and corporate customers over the coming weeks and months as they adjust to the current situation. These build on the comprehensive package of economic measures taken by the authorities in the UAE and Abu Dhabi to mitigate the effects of Covid-19. We are closely monitoring the evolving situation and will continue to respond as necessary to serve the interests of our customers, employees and in the communities where we operate," said André Sayegh, group CEO of First Abu Dhabi Bank.

Last week, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, the UAE's third largest bank, also introduced a wide range of measures from April 2 to help over 1.2 million retail and thousands of small-and-medium business customers in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com

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