x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Accounts at RAKBank going for a song

RAKBank has made a break with the traditional grey world of finance to record a pop song in an effort to attract customers.

RAKBank has made a break with the traditional grey-suited world of finance to record a pop song in an effort to attract customers. Jeff Topping / The National
RAKBank has made a break with the traditional grey-suited world of finance to record a pop song in an effort to attract customers. Jeff Topping / The National

RAKBank has made a break with the traditional grey world of finance to record a pop song in an effort to attract customers.

The song, entitled Yeah! RAKBank, includes the lyrics "Yeah, RAKBank" and "I went to RAKBank, the best around, that's when my life, turned right around".

The bank said the song "sums up the 'feel-good factor' of dealing with a bank that truly puts the needs of the customer above all else."

Companies recording songs is nothing new - Ernst & Young re-recorded the gospel standard Oh Happy Day for use in a recruitment video for the firm, while two eager Bank of America employees re-recorded U2's One to celebrate the bank's 2009 acquisition of the credit card company MBNA. Both efforts were roundly panned.

 

 

Another corporate song with the lyrics "You'll never find a surer friend than Gazprom" was derided by one critic as "both sinister and sentimental at the same time", despite being oddly catchy.

But RAKBank takes to the airwaves at a time when the UAE's 51 banks are engaging in fierce competition to attract customers, with offers including daily-deals websites, 30-minute account openings and free stays at the Palm Atlantis hotel in Dubai.

The most recent available Central Bank data reveals that banks have had little to show for their efforts, with personal lending up just 1.6 per cent so far this year to Dh256.3 billion (US$69.77bn) at the end of May. Corporate lending has grown even more slowly.

Property transactions have also slowed in the years after Dubai's property bust. Mortgages fell by 1 per cent to Dh161.5bn from the end of 2010 to January this year, the Central Bank's data also showed.

As a result of high levels of regulations and growing competition from other lenders, consumer lending was proving an increasingly difficult business line to grow for banks seeking to improve revenue, said Shabbir Malik, a financial analyst at EFG Hermes.

"Retail has been a little weak and there hasn't been much improvement, especially after the retail regulations," he said.

In May last year, the Central Bank capped the amount that individuals could borrow at 20 times salary and stipulated that credit cards could be issued only to those earning more than Dh60,000 annually. Fees charged on personal loans were also limited.

Banks were also banned from advertising products through unsolicited phone calls in the past year, a move that restricted telemarketing to banks' existing customers.

ghunter@thenational.ae

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