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Tue 12 Apr 2011 12:35 PM

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UAE retail banking sector is 'evolving', Emirates NBD CEO says

Rick Pudner says UAE insolvency laws were 'evolving' and 'things will change'

UAE retail banking sector is 'evolving', Emirates NBD CEO says
BANK CEO: Rick Pudner, CEO of Emirates NBD

The
UAE retail banking sector will see a “lot of evolution” this year to its
lending practices, the head of the country’s largest bank told Arabian Business last week.

“I
think you will see a lot of evolution in the retail market, without making any
specific comments on that,” Rick Pudner, CEO of Emirates NBD, told Arabian Business when asked if he believed
the act of bouncing a cheque, which is currently illegal in the UAE, should be
decriminalised.

“New
guidelines have been issued and are under discussion on retail lending and
services. What you will see is a lot more innovation from banks coming,” Pudner
said on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai.

While
he would not elaborate on what the changes would involve, Pudner said they
“will be positive for the consumers and the banks.”

Echoing
recent calls for the introduction of straightforward bankruptcy laws, Pudner
said the UAE insolvency laws were also “evolving” and “things will change.”

The
UAE Central Bank has already introduced a raft of changes to the retail banking
sector this year. On February 23, it set limits for fees and commissions
charged to customers and on March 22 placed a ban on bank telesales staff code
calling customers with loan promotions.

Last
year, one of the emirate’s most prominent lawyers told the Arabian Business he believed Dubai is in urgent need of legal
reform and must look to decriminalise the bouncing of post-dated cheques and
introduce straightforward bankruptcy laws.

“We
need to upgrade our legal system so that investors have faith in doing business
in the region. I say it loud and I say it clear, outdated laws have to be
outlawed,” said Dr Habib Al Mulla, executive chairman of Habib Al Mulla and
Company and former chairman of the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).

Two
areas Al Mulla said needed to be urgently addressed were the emirate’s
bankruptcy laws and the decriminalisation of the bouncing of post-dated
cheques.

“The
failure of a business should not be a criminal offence and the failure to pay a
post dated cheque is, in my view, no more than a failure to perform a contract
and it too should not be made criminal,” said Al Mulla.

 

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