UAE Exchange halts all new money transfers, other transactions

Branches across the country remain open despite suspension of services

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. A customer exchanges money at a currency exchange center in Dubai.

Image used for illustrative purpose. A customer exchanges money at a currency exchange center in Dubai.

REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

UAE Exchange, a subsidiary of London-listed Finablr which is owned by NMC Health’s B.R. Shetty, has temporarily halted processing of new transactions, including money transfers, in the country.

The operator of remittance houses confirmed that the suspension of services is due to the “operational challenges” it is facing at the moment.

“We have temporarily suspended acceptance of any new transactions at UAE Exchange branches and via our online channels,” the company said in a statement sent to Zawya on Monday.

The news comes shortly after the financial services firm received complaints about delayed fund transfers. Some customers had earlier complained that the money they remitted from UAE did not reflect on the recipients’ accounts for days.

“We are currently focused on processing existing transactions as quickly as possible. Our customer service touchpoints, as well as UAE Exchange branches, will remain open to support and attend to any queries customers may have,” the company said.

“We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience caused,” it added.

It’s not clear until when the suspension will last, but a source confirmed that UAE Exchange houses remain open.

The company has 150 outlets across the country, offering financial services, including money transfers, foreign currency exchange and payments.

It was founded by Indian billionaire Shetty, whose healthcare chain recently came under fire following criticisms raised by Muddy Waters against the company’s finances. The American short-seller had claimed that NMC’s debts and cash balances may not have been fully disclosed.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region is one of the world’s biggest sources of remittances, accounting for 23 percent of the global money transfers, according to the World Bank.

During the last three months of 2019, expatriates in the UAE transferred 2.2 billion dirhams through exchange houses, up by 7.2 percent compared to the same period in 2018, the latest data from the UAE Central Bank showed.

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)

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