What borrowers have learnt from five years of The Debt Panel – Pocketful of Dirhams

When a group of debt experts sat around a conference table at The National's office in Abu Dhabi five years ago, they never imagined the discussion would help to ease the debt problems of hundreds of UAE residents.

At the time, banks were inundated with borrowers unable to repay their liabilities because they could no longer take on fresh credit following the launch of the Al Etihad Credit Bureau.

Set up in November 2014, the bureau brought transparency to the lending industry by assembling a credit record of the nation's financially active residents.

However, those that had borrowed excessively in the past could not take on new loans or credit cards, leaving many with debts they had no hope of repaying.

This is why The National introduced The Debt Panel in April 2016 to help those in desperate need solve their debt woes.

Since then our debt experts have answered more than 260 debt panel questions, with some readers going on to resolve their financial difficulties completely.

So, what has changed since the advice column was first launched?

Host Alice Haine is joined by Philip King, the global head of retail banking at Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and one of the founding members of The Debt Panel, who shares his thoughts on the importance of the advice column in the UAE.

Listen to last week's episode on how to become a millionaire: