Dubai: The UAE’s banking sector is fully prepared to deal with the unprecedented situation resulting from the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), said Ahmed Abdelaal, CEO of Mashreq Bank during video conference on Wednesday.
“The high level of digital adoption among the UAE banks and the timely regulatory support from the Central Bank of UAE (CBUAE) has fortified the banking sector to deal with the current situation. The sector is resilient to support the economy and all its stakeholders,” said Abdelaal.
The digital transformation Mashreq undertook in recent years helped it to quickly adopt remote working strategy that helped the bank’s management to deliver banking services to its customers without exposing both its employees and customers to the risk of virus infection.
“We were really quick to adopt remote working for our staff and management. Currently 97 per cent of our global task force is working from home. Only 3 per cent are working from office. These are mostly branch staff,” said Abdelaal.
The bank currently has 4,500 virtual desktops in operation and it uses Microsoft team to interact with customers. “Our traders and global markets team are doing dealing and trading from home. Our early adoption of technology and preparedness to work remotely has come handy for us during this difficult time,” said Abdelaal.
Support to customers
Mashreq CEO said the bank’s prime focus is the interests of its customers and employees and to that extent it has announced a number of relief packages aligning with the Central Bank’s plans for supporting individuals and businesses. Mashreq’s relief package for customers cover an wide spectrum of mesures for all types of customers.
We were really quick to adopt remote working for our staff and management. Currently 97 per cent of our global task force is working from home. Only 3 per cent are working from office. These are mostly branch staff.
• A sizeable number of our home loan and personal loan customers will get a payment holiday of up to three months with no extra fees or charges; current interest rates apply.
• A sizeable number of our Credit Card customers will get a 2-month payment holiday with 50 per cent reduced interest rate during this period.
• All International Fund transfers using QuickRemit service will get 50 per cent waiver on fees.
• Cash withdrawal & ATM usage fees at all ATMs in the UAE for Debit / Credit Cards will be waived for a period of three months.
• On your Mashreq Credit Card we will give you the following offers:
o Zero processing fees for six month Easy Payment Plan on groceries and school fees
o Refund of Foreign Exchange fees for travel cancellations booked
o 50 per cent processing fee waiver on Easy Cash, Balance Transfer, & Easy Payment Plan
• If a customer is placed on unpaid leave or have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the bank :
o Up to three months payment holiday on Personal Loan & Home Loan with no extra fees or charges and zero interest.
o 0 per cent interest with three months payment holiday on Mashreq Cards.
Small and Medium Enterprises
• Sizeable Business Banking Loan customers will get a payment holiday up to three months with no extra fees and charges, current interest rates apply.
• Business Banking working capital customers and those directly affected by COVID-19 should contact their Relationship Manager to work out individual solutions .
• For Business Banking customers holding a Basic banking account, the minimum balance requirement will be reduced to Dh10,000 and Fall Below Fee will not be levied for the next three months.
• For NEOBiz customers holding a Trader Pro or Basic account, the monthly fee of Dh200 will be waived off for the next three months.
Customers applying for new products
• Customers who apply for a Personal Loan or a Home Loan will receive a 50 per cent processing fee waiver & payment holiday for up to three months.
• Customers who apply for a Home Loan and are first time buyers, will benefit from an extra 5 per cent loan-to-value with zero processing fee.
• New Credit Card customers will be charged 0 per cent interest for retail purchases for the first six months.
• Customers applying for a NEO account will get a Fall Below Fee waiver for the first three months on their Smart Account.
• Customers who apply for a Business Banking account will get a Fall Below Fee waiver for the first three months on their Basic account.
• Customers applying for a NEOBiz account will get a monthly fee waiver for the first three months on the Basic account.