Most UAE residents in debt face 'threatening' calls from police

First Arabian Business debt survey reveals only 9% believe banks are helping restructure debts

The vast majority of UAE residents in debt claim to have had threatening calls from the police and banks over their loans, according to a new survey by Arabian Business.

The UAE debt survey 2011 reveals that 80% of residents with debts have had “threatening calls”.  The same survey shows that just 9% of residents believe their banks have been helpful in trying to restructure personal debts.

Despite this, the majority – 82% - are confident of clearing their debts before leaving the country. But of those who do not believe they can, 40% plan to skip the country.

The survey also shows that more than a quarter of UAE residents have debts of more than $68,119 (AED250,000) – and  than more than 20% of residents have no idea how much debt they are in.

The survey also shows that nearly 40% of residents have personal loans of between $27,247 (AED100,000) and $54495 (AED200,000).

But the scale of UAE debt isn’t just concentrated on personal loans. The results show that 12% of residents in the country own more than six credit cards, with 15% of those still having outstanding balances of more than $27,247. The picture is even worse on car loans, where nearly a quarter of all UAE residents owe more than $27,247.

Last year a report by the Lafferty Group said total consumer debt across the GCC was $139 billion, with the UAE having one of the highest take ups of credit cards anywhere on the planet, with 199.4 cards per 100 people.

*Arabian Business questioned 342 UAE residents for the debt survey.

Click on the links below to see results of the Arabian Business debt survey:

Results: Total personal debts

Results: Bank loans

Results: Credit cards

Results: Car loans

Results: Scale of skips

Also read: One in four UAE residents owe banks more than $68,000

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Posted by: leo

the banks here are despicable in their actions to recover such debts. They were uninterested in the ability of borrowers to pay back their loans as they merely increased the debt outstandings, knowing that one way or another they would get their pound of flesh. I have heard no stories of banks being sympathetic and assisting unfortunate debtors, only tales of how they encouraged people to take out further loans that they ultimately could not repay. Unfortunately the current laws in force here support the banks in their uncaring attitudes. People without jobs cannot get a visa, cannot operate a bank account, cannot facilitate repayments. Do the banks care? My opinion is that as long as they can get away with their own malpractices on a global scale and still earn huge bonuses on the back of such activities, they never will give a thought to the debtors they have helped ensnare.

Posted by: gordon

@domingo That is a little unfair, we do not allow alcohol, drugs etc. to be sold freely neither should we allow banks to entice people to borrow.
80% of decision making is emotional; banks have marketing expertise and know how to push the right buttons. Dream Holiday, live in luxury, and buy a car on low interest rates.

It all sounds easy and pleasurable; however they do not disclose the full cost of the loan nor the full consequences of not being able to service the loan.
If the Government puts in a minimum deposit for a car or mortgage, the banks go screaming and say NO.

Banks plan to hook people into loans from a very early stage, knowing full well that the social consequences will be huge. They give students interest free loans hoping they now have the client for life.

The banks have to be reined in, there should be warnings all over any loan document, and there should be full disclosure of fees.

Remove the emotional decision and show the client the facts.

Posted by: Domingo

Banks are not in the business of caring so let's quit with the whining. If you can't afford to repay then don't borrow in the first place, and live within your means.

Posted by: mike ali

the main problem are the BANKS and the government as they gave the banks power to treat people like criminals and keep threateneing them and make their life miserable.

Posted by: wilden

Due to the fact that you did not incorporate mortgages in the survey , the numbers that you have come up with do not reflect a true picture - it did not include mortgages. For instance, my outstanding in the market is more then aed1.5m. People similar to my case who took part in the survey would have tipped the scales to read a much higher figure then if the survey specified that the outstanding to be shown is only for personal and car loans.

Posted by: C Latif

I am one of the unfortunate who lost my job and till now i cant find a proper job for a reason that i have a police case. When i see a job opportunity i cant transfer my visa because of the police case, and how i can continue paying my debts if i cant find a proper job the banks need to have their money back what we have owed from them. I wish that they will change their rules instead of giving us a police case they will file a travel ban to make sure that person cant travel out of the country and not to stop us findind a new job, and let us work here in this country legally for us to have a source income to pay our debts to the bank. In this connection there will be lots of us will be illegally staying on this country and maybe die here and go back home to our country with a close eyes that we cant see our family forever cause we are trapped here with this rules. To whoever read this please have a consideration we need to have our life back we need a job please let us have our visa.

Posted by: Lynn

I have a personal debt that unfortunately I had a family emergency reason for and that wont go away... even when I was made redudent and had no job for 6 months, i still made my payments "barely"... getting any assistance in reducing the pressure of payments as to not increase the debt has been tough and sometimes impossible - including trying to defer a payment or two - havent deferred one yet... i am an expat and i dont plan to leave UAE until i am debt free but i wish there was a better support system as my interest was increased - and not communicated, and I want this to end ASAP so i can finally not worry about month to month payments and meeting my obligations. It is what it is... but i wish it is mutually understood that its for the benefit of both parties to get this done with...

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