By Sarah Townsend
Membership body says banking industry robust despite economic slowdown
The UAE banking sector remained largely robust during last year despite macroeconomic challenges affecting overall growth, the UAE Banks Federation (UBF) said.
In its annual report for last year, UBF said its 49 member banks – which include Emirates NBD, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank and Mashreq Bank – had stayed “resilient”.
A report by Boston Consulting Group forecast that overall revenue growth of GCC banks will remain in the low single digits this year compared to historically high double-digit growth. In 2016, GCC banks’ revenues grew by 5.2 per cent, down about two percentage points from 2015, a drop of three percentage points from 2014.
However, UAE banks’ liquidity had improved by earlier this year, according to figures from the UAE Central Bank, with both bank assets and deposits increasing, and credit decreasing.
UBF’s annual report highlighted several key initiatives undertaken by member banks during 2016. Among them were collective efforts made to launch ‘Emirates Digital Wallet’ (previously called Mobile Wallet), a project to introduce a nation-wide shift to cashless payments, as well as a proposed unifed customer complaints scheme across member banks.
The report also highlights the implementation of the Modus Operandi loan restructuring scheme for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as well as the first ever Financial Literacy competition for university students, organised by UBF in a bid to promote financial literacy among the country’s youth.