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Mon 15 Dec 2008 07:35 AM

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Bank makes pledge on lending amid financial crisis

Rakbank launches campaign to highlight 'business as usual' amid credit crunch.

A UAE bank has launched a marketing campaign to highlight the range of loans it still offers to customers, as many financial institutions have been forced to tighten rules on lending amid the global financial turmoil.

Rakbank said it aims to reassure customers that the bank is adopting a "business as usual" policy and offering loans to customers that satisfy the bank's risk criteria.

Graham Honeybill, general manager, said: "We have continued to have a solid performance this year, launch new products and services, expand our branch network, and for the third year, have been voted as number 1 in customer service.

"This campaign is another reflection of our bold business approach and ends the year appropriately on a high note."

He added: "We are reaffirming our commitment to our customers and informing the public that we continue to offer what is a core service for banks - lending."

The campaign centres on the various types of loans offered by the bank, including RAKfinance Business loans, car financing, mortgage and home improvement loans.

Banks across the UAE have recently hiked the minimum monthly salary needed to qualify for a personal loan, hurting low wage earners across the emirate.

Some banks have more than doubled the amount customers must earn in order to get a loan.

Lloyds TSB hiked its minimum monthly salary threshold on Oct. 1 to 25,000 dirhams ($6,806) from 12,000 dirhams, while Barclays raised its threshold to 8,000 dirhams from 4,000 dirhams in October.

Lloyds, which has also stopped providing home finance for apartments in the UAE and reduced its loan-to-value ratio on villas to 50 percent.

HSBC raised its minimum monthly salary threshold to 20,000 dirhams from 10,000 dirhams on Nov. 1.

Dubai-based Emirates Bank on Nov. 15 increased the amount customers must earn in order to get a loan to 5,000 dirhams ($1,361) from 3,000 dirhams, while National Bank of Dubai (NBD) raised its threshold to 5,000 dirhams from 2,500 dirhams in mid-October.

National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), Abu Dhabi's largest lender by market value, also increased its threshold, raising it at the beginning of November to 7,000 dirhams from 3,000 dirhams, staff said.

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