Citi raises minimum account balance for new UAE customers

Retail customers must have monthly balance of more than $9,500 as it targets wealthier clients

Citigroup has raised the minimum monthly average account balance new retail customers in the United Arab Emirates must hold to 35,000 dirhams ($9,529), it said on Thursday.

Like many banks in the country, Citigroup has been focusing on attracting wealthier clients to expand its wealth management business, particularly as tight net interest margins are putting lending revenues under pressure.

The move "falls in line with our business model", Citigroup said in a statement, without elaborating.

New customers must ensure they have a monthly average balance of at least 35,000 dirhams in their account at all times, it said. The previous limit was 3,000 dirhams.

The new limit did not affect existing clients, regardless of the minimum monthly average balance in their account, and customer accounts will not be closed, the bank said. It said the new rule was effective from June 2015.

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