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Tue 14 Jul 2009 04:16 PM

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RBS to close Dubai offshore office after review

RBS International will close in August, just over a year since it opened in the emirate.

RBS to close Dubai offshore office after review
OFFSHORE ACCOUNT: RBS International will close its Dubai office in August. (Getty Images)

Royal Bank of Scotland has been forced to close its Dubai offshore office just over a year since it opened following a “strategic review of its business,” it can be revealed.

RBS International will close its offshore banking office in August, a spokesman for the group confirmed on Tuesday.

According to a statement given to Arabian Business, the closure follows a company-wide review of the group.

A lack of new expat customers has also been cited as a reason for the closure.

“In recent months RBS International, the offshore banking arm of RBS Group, has been under going a strategic review of its business,” the statement said.

“As a result of that review we will be focusing on our core jurisdiction of the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Gibraltar. It is regrettable that our small office in Dubai will be closing.

“The RBS Group continues to have a strong presence in the Middle East through its global banking markets, the RBS Business Coutts teams in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar.”

The RBS International office opened in Dubai in April 2008. It employs seven members of staff and has about 400 customers.

“We are trying to find all of them alternative roles at the moment,” said a spokesman for RBS Group’s wealth management division.

“From a customer perspective, there should be little change as they will still continue to have their accounts, but they will be based in Jersey rather than Dubai,” he said.

The spokesman said the decision to close the offshore office was due to a limited number of new expat customers.

“The office was really there to serve the expat community in Dubai and I think that the growth of that community probably in the short-term was limited. I’ve no doubt that will pick up sometime in the future,” he said.

Rising school fees and job losses in the UAE have fuelled speculation that thousands of mainly western expatriates would leave the country this summer.

In May, removal companies based in the emirate told Arabian Business they were overwhelmed with bookings for outgoing expats for June. They also said the number of people relocating to the UAE had fallen dramatically.

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concerned... 11 years ago

Please excuse my negligence, is it the RBS bank in the banks street that's closing?, or some other devision of the RBS?

J Smith 11 years ago

They are closing all operations in Dubai. Back office, branch, everything. Anyone who has an account here in Dubai will have that account transferred to the Channel Islands. From a practical point of view this means the accounts will have to be administered by telephone/internet banking.

Piumi 11 years ago

I personally feel that they should seriouly improve their services according to the high fees that they charge. they are ripping off customers and consider customers as slaves. Very soon they will have to close the main bank as well.

vinod 11 years ago

It is just a division of RBS...so the Banking operations you see at Bank street continues as before...

MM 11 years ago

reply to Mr. concerned, it is not the bank thats closing. so dont worry ur account is safe.

Geriant 11 years ago

This RBS division dealt mainly with high net worth individuals based in Dubai and the region, so where have they all gone? Can the last expat pasha to leave Dubai please let the Atlantis whale shark go. The lights will turn themselves off, as nobody has paid the bills for months. Maybe Omar will have a pond for the fish at his villa on The Palm.

Raj 11 years ago

Must be DIFC - have seen loadsof companies de-registering from DIFC lately.

Asif 11 years ago

If they give a proper customer service, why expats would prefer other banks. I have been RBS credit card regularly for the last 4 years and repaid the amount properly without any delay and i didn't have any late payment charges, because there was an auto debt facility with my current account in the same bank. One day, i needed a credit limit increase urgently as i had to book my flight tickets and put a request to them by giving my revised salary which is 3½ times more while i got my credit card. After few days, they said that your request has been declined because of no proper usage. I really got pissed off and said the next moment, please cancel my credit card immd. They also immd said, no problems, you have to clear what ever balance you have currently and then apply for cancellation. I did the same thing, Immd contacted another bank, they gave me a new credit card with a big limit and also gave a cheque for balance transfer. I immd cleared RBS and cancelled my card. 2 days after that, i receive a call from the and begging for activation and they said that now ur credit limit has increased to 5 times, i gave the CS guy royally left and right. he couldnot say anything and just hang the fone. So when you get this kind of customer service, how do you expect the expats to open new accounts or refer their friends and collegues, i will never refer anyone to rbs, this is not the only experience, i had more bad experience with them.