Al Hilal Bank has jumped on the bandwagon for the country's love of gold as a safe investment, this week unveiling the Middle East's first in-bank Gold To Go vending machine.
The Abu Dhabi-based Sharia-compliant lender joins Emirates Palace hotel, which launched the world's first Gold To Go machine in May last year.
Al Hilal, which is owned by the Abu Dhabi Investment Council, says its machine will dispense gold bars and coins 24 hours a day and will adjust to market rates every 10 minutes. The machine will be operated by Ex Oriente Lux, the German developer of Gold To Go.
The bank says its new service is expected to do well in light of gold's well-established role as both an alternative currency and a common hedge against inflation.
"Our Gold to Go roll-out is in line with our continuous efforts to lead the market by introducing first-of-its-kind services to the UAE," says Mohamed Jamil Berro, the chief executive of Al Hilal Bank.
"We want to be the best for our customers and so we seek out the best offerings for them. Buying high-quality gold 24/7 in our trusted banking environment is something new and exciting for our customers and I am sure they will highly appreciate our efforts to give them access to this kind of personal service."
The gold vending machine, which is burglar and tamper proof, went live on September 1 at the bank's Mall Branch in Khalidiya.
For more information, go to www.alhilalbank.ae.
The importance of financial literacy is finally gaining a foothold in the UAE, with National Bonds and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank leading the way in educating residents on smart money management and promoting a rigorous savings culture.
A newcomer to the movement is the Dubai-based dar el-ilm School of Languages, which is offering a new financial literacy course for teenagers.
The course, which was designed by Integrated Business Care, teaches students awareness of money, the economy, budgeting, investments, debt, giving, evaluating opportunities and risks and setting financial goals. It intends to provide an understanding of earning money and subsequently spending, investing or saving it.
"In today's economic climate, everyone needs to be financially astute," says Jenny Hunt, the school's business development and marketing manager.
"We are not aware of any similar course for young people, which provides an insight about how to successfully manage their personal finances.
"The more knowledgeable young people are of financial risks or opportunities, the better prepared they will be to make informed decisions throughout their lives. We believe this is a crucial part of their general education."
The course costs Dh1,155 per student and is being conducted at dar el-ilm's premises in the Dubai World Trade Centre complex. The first course begins on October 22 and runs until December 17.
To enrol in the course, call dar el-ilm on 04 331 0221, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.