UBF works closely with banking sector to help customers overcome Covid-19 challenge

Abdulaziz Al Ghurair, UBF chairman, says the nation must prove its 'resilience' and secure the future

SHARJAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 12 SEPTEMBER 2019. Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair. Results of the 2018 Trust Index Survey conducted by the UAE Banks Federation in collaboration with Kantar. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: Nada El Sawy. Section: Business.
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The UAE Banks Federation (UBF) is working closely with member banks and the Central Bank of the UAE to help customers and businesses overcome the challenges of Covid-19 as the country’s economy reopens for business.

“We are entering a new phase of the pandemic, in which restrictions have been lifted and the economy is gradually reopening, so we must forge a path to help customers, businesses and industries overcome the challenges that lie ahead,” Abdulaziz Al Ghurair, chairman of UBF, said following a virtual meeting of the CEO’s advisory council.

“We are using all our collective resources and tools to ensure we successfully navigate through the temporary difficulties we are facing as a nation, and once more prove our resilience and secure the future of the UAE.”

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted daily life, paralysed air travel, hammered global stock markets and forced governments to introduce economic stimulus packages worth more than $8 trillion (Dh29tn) after countries went into lockdown.

The UAE is starting to reopen its economy after several weeks of movement directives with the government allowing businesses to operate with certain restrictions, such as a 30 per cent capacity in malls and restaurants and the mandatory use of face masks.

In March, the central bank rolled out a comprehensive Dh100 billion economic stimulus package to offset the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on businesses and individuals.

The Targeted Economic Support Scheme (Tess) included Dh50bn from central bank funds through collateralised loans at zero cost to all banks operating in the UAE and Dh50bn funds freed up from banks’ capital buffers. Further loosening of capital and liquidity buffers has since increased the size of this stimulus to Dh256bn.

Banks in the UAE have tapped 77 per cent of the liquidity facility, amounting to Dh38.5bn of the allocated funds in the Tess, according to the banking regulator last week.

During the meeting, the Advisory Council also proposed six-week effort to assess the wealth management sector and develop a road map to grow the industry in the UAE.

“This initiative will allow UBF to identify the active key local and international players and determine how they can better work together to offer incentivised wealth management services," UBF said.