UAE banks call 'exceptional' talks over new credit bureau

Move comes after announcement that only one bank has so far submitted full customer data to Al Etihad Credit Bureau
UAE banks call 'exceptional' talks over new credit bureau
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)
By Andy Sambidge
Sat 03 May 2014 05:25 AM

The UAE Banks Federation is to convene an exceptional meeting of its consumer committee this month to discuss member banks' cooperation with Al Etihad Credit Bureau.

The move comes just days after it was revealed that just one bank of the country's 46 banks has so far submitted data on its clients’ credit history over the last two years to the Bureau, which is ready to launch.

Al Etihad Credit Bureau is a federal government company specialised in providing UAE-based credit reports and other financial information.

AbdulAziz Al Ghurair, chairman of the UAE Banks Federation , said: "The Federation strongly supports the creation of the Al Etihad Credit Bureau, and we are working closely with all Federation members to ensure that all member banks meet the requirements."

All banks are supposed to submit 24 months' historical data for customers to the Bureau by Wednesday.

"Our understanding is that all banks are actively involved with the Al Etihad Credit Bureau and are looking forward to the successful launch of the Credit Bureau," said Al Ghurair.

He added: "The establishment of a reliable credit bureau is a positive step for both banks and customers. It will enable banks to take well informed credit decisions.

"In the long run, it will improve portfolio quality for the banks and ensure responsible lending to customers by preventing them from getting into debt that they cannot afford. Overall it is expected to strengthen the economy and the banking system in the UAE."

In March, the Bureau announced it was ready to start operations - after a planned launch last year was delayed.

Until now, banks in the UAE have been unable to access data on consumers at other financial institutions when making a lending decision. This has created a situation where some have borrowed from many lenders and run up huge personal debts which proved impossible to repay.

Defaulting on debt is deemed a criminal, rather than a civil, offence in the UAE, with those unable to meet repayments facing jail sentences.

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