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Tue 5 Jan 2010 12:48 PM

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2,800 customers seek help from Mashreq to pay loans

Bank says it is planning to extend Mashreq Assist service to Abu Dhabi customers.

More than 2,800 Mashreq customers have so far received support from its debt counselling service, Mashreq Assist, the bank said on Tuesday.

Set up in September last year, Mashreq Assist was established to help individuals and small business clients facing repayment challenges to provide vital support and advice.

"Redundancies, pay cuts, losses on investments and over leveraging have created some challenges for many of our customers who now need help to review their finances," said Douglas K Beckett, head of Retail Banking Group, Mashreq.

"With over 1,700 customers personally coming to the branch where Mashreq Assist is located and a further 1,100 calling our hotlines, we have been able to offer support and minimize possible loan defaults, which is positive for our customers and the bank."

Restructuring options have primarily been utilised for credit cards, with more than 2,500 customers seeking assistance. A further 300 customers have sought advice on re-payment of their personal or auto loans, the bank said in a statement.

Vimal Kumar, head of Credit Cards, Mashreq, added: "We have received very positive feedback from our customers, and we are delighted that Mashreq Assist is encouraging customers to come forward and seek support."

Due to the success of Mashreq Assist, the bank said it is planning to extend the service to Abu Dhabi "as soon as we can".

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James 10 years ago

Well done to Mashreq for adopting a grown up and modern attitude to the UAE. Some many banks here still operate like traditional and old fashioned banks. If this country wants financial prosperity and democracy he has to treat people like humans not like criminals if they loose their job. They cant be modern in just their financial services and then keep their traditional and attitudes to it.

Sascha 10 years ago

I only can congratulate Mashreq for that very smart move. Not only increases this the reputation of this finance house but will gain more customers in the future. Bank should indeed rethink their strategy in dealing with clients who cannot pay back their debts out of whatever reason. It should be a mutual interest to solve this issue and I find banks very arrogant and snobby when it comes to find a repayment scheme. Well done Mashreq bank, unfortunately I am not a customer of you.

GS 10 years ago

I have personal experience with Mashreq Bank - they are willing to listen and not just come down on a customer with a iron rod. Their interest rates on Easy Payment Plan, Cash Advances, etc cost almost 25% lower than the other banks. They are more reasonable and not greedy like many other banks. Such responsible attitude for assisting customers in distress result in more benefits both for banks as well as customers since customers dont have to flee to prevent landing in jail as a result of financial distress. Its good for the economy of the UAE to have such responsible lenders around.

Another Unhappy 10 years ago

I too have a mortgage with Mashreq and their recent increase in interest rate by the introduction of "MPR" took me by surprise. This is clearly a way for Mashreq to fund their bad debts. It is unacceptable and it would not happen anywhere else in the world where the financial system is regulated. Surely this is setting a bad precedent and it is damaging the investment confidence of Dubai.

Abdallah 10 years ago

I am utterly disturbed by the practices of the banks here in the UAE that is totally unethical (on top of being somewhat unregulated). The only thing they are good at is selling short term personal loans with extremely high revolving interest rates. They feel free to do whatever they want whenever they want. Anyone who thinks that the bank is doing it to counsel and help people would be real naive. The bank is just trying to reach out to defaulting customers to see from which rib they can slice a piece of flesh and nothing else. The big blame does not entirely fall on the borrowers who were lured by the banks through promotions and bad risk assessment to take loan facilities that exceeded their financial capabilities when all thought they were immortals. And for those fake posts up there from employees of the bank most likely, cheers.

MPR is coming from??? 10 years ago

A few months back I signed a contract with the bank in which it is specified that the mortgage installment will be calculated as EIBOR + 3.99%. As the EIBOR went down (due to capital injection and regaining of confidence in the system from investors) Mashreq decided that "EIBOR can no longer reflect the basis for mortgage… and introduced their own Mashreq Prime Rate or MPR". Obviously, the installments went up but nobody seeing this? No regulatory bank, no agency, nobody!!! So, apparently the banks in Dubai can do whatever they want whenever they want!!!

Sam 10 years ago

Should we be grateful that they sent in Tony four-fingers to give debtees a last chance to pay up, instead of Frankie bust-a-knee right away like they used to? And yo, GS, lay off the PR rap please. Mashreq Bank is the worst my wife ever dealt with, in both customer (I mean patsie) service as well as finance rates.

anand 10 years ago

Banks in UAE are there for one reason that is to make money. Keep dreaming. if they come to your help, means ur bad times are going to get worse.

Richei 10 years ago

The above press release is quite comforting to the readers who are affected by this scenario. However, as per my experience talking to the Mashreq Assist (though it's very hard to get in the hotline), is somehow contradicting to what i read above. My point is, before denying the customer or telling negative result right away, I wish they will always attend thoroughly to the customer needs and get proper documents before saying "NO". Mashreq Assist staff said, "You don't have a valid liability reason why you are applying for the easy payment plan, then it will be disapproved". It's clearly disappointing to hear this statment for a first enquiry and not seeing the black&white pertinent documents/request. I believe, that every customer coming to the Mashreq Assist for debt counselling, is indeed needing the easiness in re-payment thru Equated Monthly Installment (EMI), thus we deserve to be treated parallel to the above press release.