Manchester City fans in the UAE can now prove their devotion for their beloved blues with every purchase after First Gulf Bank (FGB) yesterday launched an official credit card for the English football club.
The deal is the latest in a string of marketing tie-ups related to financial products as banks capitalise on growing levels of consumer confidence in the Emirates. Amid a sharp rise in borrowing this year financial institutions are upping their marketing to get a bigger slice of the action.
According to data from the Central Bank, consumer lending increased in June by the most on record as personal loans to residents rose by Dh3.8 billion, the sixth consecutive month of increases.
However, last week Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, the head of the UAE Banks Federation and the chairman of Mashreq, said that once the proposed Al Etihad Credit Bureau is fully up and running the supply of new credit is likely to grind to a halt for up to a year as a clear picture of the amount of borrowing by individuals emerges.
FGB’s three-year deal with Manchester City, which is owned by Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour, expands its high-profile sports brand-related offering after it launched a Ferrari credit card in March.
“Manchester City enjoys a terrific and rapidly expanding fan base in the United Arab Emirates and it is a privilege for the club to be able to give something back to our supporters there for their amazing support,” said Tom Glick, the chief Commercial & Operating Officer for Manchester City Football Club.
Cardholders can take advantage of benefits including special deals on official club merchandise and will also have the chance to win all- expense paid trips to watch City play, the bank said yesterday.
“This exclusive card … reinforces FGB’s support in promoting healthy lifestyles in the communities where we operate,” said André Sayegh, the chief executive of FGB.
On Monday, media reported that FGB may be interested in buying Barclays’ retail operations in the UAE. In June, it bought Dubai First, the credit card business of Dubai Group, for US$164 million.