Bank postpones customer payments during Ramadan

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank's scheme covers car loans, liability fees and personal debts for August as part of its Ramadan activities.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - October 21, 2008: Abu Dhabi Islamic bank in an Abu Dhabi mall.
( Ryan Carter / The National ) *** Local Caption ***  RC020-Banks.JPGRC020-Banks.JPG
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Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), the country's second-largest Sharia-compliant lender, has postponed all customer payment installments for August as part of its Ramadan activities. The bank's annual payment deferment tradition covers various finance products, including car loans, liability settlements and personal loans. "This is a way for us to help those who have helped make us one of the leading Islamic banks in the region," says Sarvesh Sarup, ADIB's head of retail banking.

"It is also a clear demonstration to our customers of the concept of banking as it should be." To qualify, ADIB says customers must be up-to-date with their payments, having paid at least three previous installments, and have a salary transfer arrangement with the bank. Installments will be automatically postponed until next month, the bank says. "The postponement will be welcomed by customers as their expenses will increase during the month of Ramadan due to re-opening of schools and return from holidays with a backdrop of rising living costs," says Mr Sarup.

It is unclear if the deferred payment scheme will mean adding another month onto the life of the loan as ADIB was unavailable for comment. National Bank of Abu Dhabi, the UAE's second-largest bank by assets, is also offering customers the chance to apply for payment deferrals on their personal loans this month. The applications are approved at the bank's discretion, the lender says. Meanwhile, Etihad Airways has announced a second partnership with the Abu Dhabi-based lender to launch another range of branded credit and debit cards.

The partnership with ADIB offers new customers 50,000 Etihad guest miles, airport valet parking, options to earn free companion tickets, as well as earning extra miles by using the card for purchases. "Our customers can look forward to a very attractive offering that will integrate their banking, shopping and travel into a more rewarding experience," says Tirad Mahmoud, the chief executive of ADIB.

"The coming together of our strong and respected brands creates a unique platform for building an exceptional value proposition that appeals to a wide cross-section of customers." Last month, Etihad also announced a similar tie-up with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), which offers customers "Above" Visa credit cards in either classic, gold, platinum or infinite. ADCB customers are also given 50,000 bonus Etihad guest miles for signing up, as well as the opportunity to fast-track enrollment into the airline's gold and silver tiers and complimentary multi-trip travel insurance.