UAE banking sector has been able to adapt and remain resilient to the headwinds faced in 2016
Dubai, UAE, March 7, 2017: The Board of Directors of the UAE Banks Federation (UBF), a professional representative body comprising 49 member banks operating in the UAE, held its first meeting of the year today, Tuesday (7 March, 2017) in Dubai, to review the achievements and key highlights of 2016 as well as outline priorities for 2017.
Presided over by H.E. AbdulAziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of UBF, the meeting evaluated progress on a number of high-priority topics for the Federation and discussed the challenges facing the banking sector.
“Despite regional and global challenges, the UAE banking sector has been able to adapt and remain resilient to the headwinds faced in 2016. The drop in oil prices and the quickening pace of economic diversification in the UAE have put a sharper focus on the non-oil sector. As the nerve center of the economy, the banking and financial sector will have a pivotal role to play in ensuring that economic activity in the UAE maintains its momentum through 2017. Banks must explore innovative ways in which to make their business models viable, especially given the rising regulatory challenges and compliance costs,” said H.E. AbdulAziz Al Ghurair.
Topics covered at the Board meeting included evaluation and progress of UBF SMEs initiative “Modus Operandi”, a new debt restructuring measures introduced last year to better enable SMEs to meet their debt obligations; implementation progress of the Mobile Wallet project - set to herald a major transformation in the way people in the UAE pay cashless for goods and services - and the proposed creation of a unified framework for handling customer complaints to further enhance customer experience.
The Board also reviewed initiatives that aim to further protect customers and banks against Anti-Money Laundering, and enhance fraud prevention and cybersecurity in the banking landscape.
In addition, the Board commended the collaborative coordination with the Central Bank of the UAE on key industry issues, and reviewed the performance of the 18 specialized technical committees, tasked with overseeing key UBF programs and initiatives toward advancing the Federation’s goals and objectives. The Board also valued UBF’s contribution in promoting Emiratization and SME empowerment, as well as addressing important banking sector issues.