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Some (generally) good moves

Some (generally) good moves

The Central Banks new retail banking rules are a welcome intervention… for the most part. There’s just one little thing bothering us.

February 28, 2011 3:06 by

I am not a fan of banks. At least, I’m not a fan of my bank. My bank is the local incarnation of one of the global giants. I’ve used this bank in other countries, and been generally impressed by its professionalism, standards of service, and general omnipresence, so when I arrived here in the UAE it was a no brainer.

Unfortunately, the local incarnation of this trusted brand has not always been so reliable. I’ve had shoddy service on the phone, shoddy service in the branches, trouble getting to grips with the pre-historic online banking system. I’ve been unable to get the services I wanted when I wanted them, and for half of the things you need a bank for you have to go to a ‘main branch’, conveniently located miles from anywhere useful.

At first, this drove me crazy, but a quick straw poll of my friends in Dubai revealed that everyone seems to have the same complaints no matter who they bank with. And anyone bold enough to try to switch banks found that not only was there no improvement, but the process of moving banks made them want to weep.

In short, the UAE is not noted for modern, convenient, effective and reliable retail banking services.

Another UAE banking customer bugbear, although it’s not one I personally have noticed, is bank charges. Apparently, customers have long been unhappy with the high fees charged by GCC banks for basic services. In an effort to tackle this complaint here in the UAE, the Central Bank has unveiled a new set of rules governing how much banks in the country can charge for basic services. Here’s the list of charges, courtesy of Emirates 24-7:

For opening new account – none

If balance is less than the minimum “monthly” – Dh25

Non-arrival of salary  – none

Closure of account (if closed within one year of opening) – Dh100

Lack of sufficient credit in the account – Dh25

Issuing certificate of account balance – Dh50

Issuing clearance certificate – Dh50

Non-moving accounts – no charges

Teller transactions at branch (6 transactions monthly free) – Dh10 for each additional transactions

For cash withdrawal or deposit  – none

Postpone the payment of the loan – Dh100 for each time

Loan restructuring – Dh250

Bounced cheques – Dh100

Periodic statement of account – Dh25 outside period agreed on

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