UAE cenbank mulls exemptions on lending limits

Senior official says compliance to new rules may extend beyond Sept 30 deadline
UAE cenbank mulls exemptions on lending limits
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)
By Reuters
Wed 30 May 2012 06:46 PM

The UAE's central bank could grant exemptions to some banks over planned lending limits to sovereign and state-linked entities, pushing compliance beyond the September 30 deadline, its chairman told a local newspaper on Wednesday.

The regulator said in April's ruling it would cap lending at 100 percent of a bank's capital base to governments of the seven-member UAE federation and their non-commercial entities, and 25 percent to individual borrowers, the first such change to the rules in nearly two decades.

A number of UAE banks - including the country's big two, Dubai's Emirates NBD and National Bank of Abu Dhabi - are over the limit and have said they would discuss with the authorities about how to manage their balance sheets in light of the rule-change.

The central bank is willing to cooperate with heavily-exposed banks and extend the deadline for compliance on a case-by-case basis, Khalil Foulathi, chairman of the central bank, was quoted as saying by Arabic-language Al Khaleej newspaper.

"We will impose deadlines on banks in accordance with a bank's position and the extent of its exposure and based on the findings and demands it presents to the central bank, but we will absolutely not annul or change any of the recent amendments," he said.

According to Deutsche Bank, in a note published April 9, ENBD and NBAD were at 192 and 199 percent of regulatory capital respectively. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, another state-owned lender, was also over the threshold at 108 percent.

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