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Dubai Banks

Middle-East : Dubai : Life in Dubai : Dubai Finance


Talking about Dubai banks, we must first add that the standards of banking services vary from country to country. But Dubai, as a top business destination and also the top Middle Eastern destination for foreigners to work in, must pay attention to the quality of its services, and the overall quantity of its banks in order to make its services more widely available for many in Dubai.


All banking matters of Dubai and the whole UAE are regulated and governed by the UAE Central Bank. They are the ones issuing the laws and rules regarding all financial matters. The three main forms of banks operating in Dubai, be it Islamic or non-Islamic, are merchant/investment banks and industrial banks.


Currently, there are 52 banks operating in the United Arab Emirates, which means, that this number is unchanged since 2009. The 52 banks mean 28 local or Emirati and 28 foreign banks are operating in Dubai. The exact number of all branches in the whole United Arab Emirates has been increasing from 860 to 948, which means a 10% of increase in number. Of course, together with the offices, also, the number of the ATMs had to be enlarged and so it did, with a great 48 percent from 2420 as measured in 2008 to 3599 by 2010.


The biggest Islamic Bank in the region is the Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, which has also raised the number of its offices around Dubai and the whole Emirates from 44 to 52. The number of ATMs has gone up from 116 to 204 by 2010 and it does not want to stop there, as the target is to have altogether 70 offices for the Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.


The Ras Al Khaimah Bank has raised the number of its offices with two new offices by 2010. This is only important as for long time this bank, called only RAK Bank is the best bank of the United Arab Emirates.


Of course, whether a bank is good is mainly up to subjective opinions, but there is a company called Ethos Consultancy firm that makes yearly surveys in order to measure the standards of operation for all banks located in the United Arab Emirates and so, yearly it publishes its new list containing the results. It has been four years now, that every year, the RAK Bank proves to be the best. The First Gulf Bank is second on the list. Here are some data of Ethos, for informative reasons and help you with your search for your future bank.


  • The overall best banks of UAE:  1.RAK Bank (or National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah) 2. First Gulf Bank.
  • The overall worst bank of the UAE:  United Bank Limited.
  • The best quality Islamic Bank of the UAE : Emirates Islamic Bank
  • The best international bank operating in the UAE: Lloyds TSB Bank
  • Best Customer services: RAK Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank,  First Gulf Bank,
  • Worst Customer service: Al Masraf Bank, Bank of Sharjah, Doha Bank
  • The best banking website and web services: First Gulf Bank, RAK Bank, Noor Islamic Bank.
  • Worst website and web services: Al Masraf Bank, Emirates Islamic Bank, Commercial Bank International.
  • The best new bank: Al Hilal Bank
  • The most improved customer service: RAK bank, First Gulf Bank, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Emirates Islamic Bank, Mashreq Bank, Commercial Bank of Dubai and Barclays Bank.
  • The Worst face-to-face and overall customer service: HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank and Citibank., National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), Union National Bank (UNB) and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) (previously ABN Amro).

 

The data were collected by personal surveys. Of course, when you come to Dubai for work, the first thing always to deal with is to open your bank account. This will happen usually after getting your resident card and your work contract and you get to know about the bank of your employer. Normally, the best thing is to stick with the same bank, because it means faster and more effective services. Opening a bank account is free in Dubai; they just need all your basic documents, with a salary statement. Resident card is not an obligatory to show, as also other foreign citizens can also open a bank account, but it means a plus if you have it. Here we enlist the minimum requirements when opting for a personal bank account in one of the Dubai banks.

  • To show your original Passport together with a copy.
  • Any other accepted form of identification, Driving Licence, ID card and its copies.
  • Certificate of Salary from your employer, if you want a cash-flow bank account. For savings account, you do not need this paper. However, as most companies pay with wire transfer, people cannot a get bank account where they can welcome this monthly sum. 
  • Your current accounts, which also gave you ATM card and chequebook.

 

Once again, it is important to arrange with your employer that you open an account in the same bank, as employees might also get extras if they have their bank account in the same bank.


There will be a minimum balance requirement facing you, which is different by every bank. In addition, there is a minimum income or salary requirement as well. These range from 1000 to 10,000 Dirham.


As for the newest regulations, due to the many types of loans and mortgages and also the even more frauds and attempts of mismanaging large sums, the UAE Central Bank has issued the newest regulations on February 2011 regarding mostly loans and the newest fees. Let us share some of the most important information taken from these regulations.


  • Maximum repayment period will stay 48 months (4 years) regarding personal loans.
  • When opting for a Car loan max. 80% of the stated value is approved with a max. Repayment period is 60 months (5 years).
  • The Overall total limit on monthly repayments is 50% of net income including salary and any other revenue. This includes personal loans, credit card repayments, home mortgages, car loans, any other financing.
  • Credit cards is to be issued only to customers earning a monthly salary of at least AED 5,000 (annual salary of AED 60,000), or "against a pledged deposit" of at least AED 60,000.
  • Account opening fees - nil.
  • Minimum balance is required the maximum of which is AED 3,000.
  • Bank check issue fee (Manager's Cheque) - 30 dirham.
  • Account Balance Letter would cost AED 50.
  • No Liability Certificate costs AED 100.
  • Release Letter costs AED 50.
  • Pin code replacement fee costs AED 25.
  • Account closing fee AED 100 if you close it within a year counting from the date you opened.
  • Foreign currency transactions processing fee is around 2% of the amount

 

Sending and welcoming of money through Western Union can be dealt with in all post offices operated by the Emirates Post. The good news is that the fees for Western Union transfers are reduced. This has much to do with the large traffic especially toward the South Asian region.

 

Therefore, we hope that this short information about Dubai banks can help you to understand a bit more about how banks operate in Dubai. In case you would like to know more information about Dubai banks, do not hesitate to go to the websites of any of the upper mentioned banks or read more about the regulations for bank operations in Dubai on the governmental page of Dubai and the UAE.