FAB to allow SMEs and retail customers to defer payments for up to three months

Lender says it is working with small businesses to assess the impact the virus outbreak was having on cash flows

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - February 7th, 2018: FAB (First Abu Dhabi Bank) Head office - Business Park. Wednesday, February 7th, 2018. Twofour54, Abu Dhabi. Chris Whiteoak / The National

The UAE's biggest lender, First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), said it will defer payments on mortgage, personal loans and car loans for up to three months for customers who may be struggling as a result of the economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak.

The lender also said it will defer instalments "for all loan types" for SME customers and was already working with firms to assess the impact the virus outbreak was having on cash flows with a view to supporting potential loan restructurings.

"We have taken a series of concrete and practical measures to support our individual, small business and corporate customers over the coming weeks and months as they adjust to the current situation," said FAB's chief executive, André Sayegh. "These build on the comprehensive package of economic measures taken by the authorities in the UAE and Abu Dhabi to mitigate the effects of Covid-19."

The measures announced to cushion the economic fallout from the Covid-19 outbreak include a Dh100 billion stimulus unveiled by the Central Bank of the UAE last Saturday, and separate packages tailored messages from both the Abu Dhabi government and the Dubai government that entail reduced or exempted fees for a range of services.

FAB is the second major lender to announce measures to support customers, after Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank unveiled a similar initiative on Wednesday.

Other measures announced by the bank include interest-free loans on school fee payments for parents, while first-time property buyers can reduce the down payment they'd need to buy a new home by 5 per cent.

For small businesses, it is reimbursing 50 per cent of the monthly fees on Point of Sale loan (POS) service charges.