x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Central Bank gets tough on high customer fees

The UAE's Central Bank is flexing its muscles and cracking down on high fees across the industry.

New retail banking rules have been introduced by the UAE's Central Bank to clamp down on excessive lending and high service fees.

The legislation covers personal and car loans provided to customers.

In addition, it restricts service fees lenders can impose for personal accounts, cheques and debit cards.

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Officials said the new rules were introduced after a rise in complaints from customers about how much banks were charging them for services.

"Personal consumers started to complain to the Central Bank and we have seen a lot of complaints," said Sultan al Suwaidi, Governor of the Central Bank.

"As a result of the global financial crisis banks wanted to compensate for loss of revenue so they increased the variety of service fees that were not there two years ago and they increased the rate of existing fees."

The regulator said the new regime would also benefit banks by ensuring customers were able to repay loans.

The limits cap the amount banks can lend to customers at 20 times an individual's salary. They also set the period of repayment of a loan to 48 months.