UAE credit bureau starts retail operations

Updated 12 November 2014

UAE credit bureau starts retail operations

ABU DHABI: The United Arab Emirates' credit bureau has begun covering retail customers and plans to extend its work to companies next year, its chief executive said on Wednesday.
The much-delayed Al Etihad Credit Bureau now has financial information on 2.8 million individuals or 97 percent of the total population with a credit history, Marwan Lutfi said.
The UAE government is seeking to strengthen the banking system against bad debt. Until now, banks have often been unable to access data on consumers at other financial institutions when making lending decisions, meaning borrowers could take on huge debts with multiple lenders without any of them knowing.
Together with tougher mortgage lending rules and caps on lending to government-linked companies, the credit bureau is one of several tools aimed at guarding against a repeat of the crisis that paralyzed the financial system in 2009 and 2010. "The credit reports will play a key role in helping banks and financial institutions to assess risk accurately, enabling them to make informed lending decisions and lower lending risks," Lutfi told reporters at the Abu Dhabi headquarters.
The bureau had previously set the end of the first quarter of 2014 as the deadline for starting operations but the plan was delayed due to inaccurate information or errors in the consumer credit data being submitted by banks.
About 99 percent of the required correct data on consumers had now been supplied by banks, Lutfi said. To date, 43 banks and financial institutions had submitted their customers' credit data and 29 of them had subscribed to the bureau's credit reporting services. In total, 51 banks operate in the UAE.
Starting next year, the bureau will also offer credit reports on all companies operating in the UAE, including any details of bounced checks.
Some banks are unsure about how much difference it will make to their lending practices.
"If we would have been getting it this wrong for this long then we would have been suffering much larger credit losses than we have," said the chief executive of one lender.


Leaders descend on Beijing for Bloomberg problem-solving forum

Updated 21 November 2019

Leaders descend on Beijing for Bloomberg problem-solving forum

  • The two-day event aims to encourage solutions from the private sector to some of the big challenges the global economy faces today
  • Some 500 senior leaders will attend the gathering, of which about 200 will come from Chinese institutions

Thought leaders from the business world and the global political scene are descending on the Chinese capital Beijing for the New Economy Forum (NEF) run by the information and media giant Bloomberg.

The two-day event aims to encourage solutions from the private sector to some of the big challenges the global economy faces today — trade, climate change, technology and financial volatility. It will also prioritize issues of inclusion, urbanization and governance.

Justin Smith, chief executive officer of Bloomberg Media, told Arab News — which is a media partner for the event — that some 500 delegates would attend the forum, with about 200 coming from institutions within China.

“The reason we’re bringing people together is to produce a platform for discussion between people who represent the new global economy. There is a whole new class of people from Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America who are not represented well in the ‘legacy gatherings’ that take place, which are typically more American and European oriented.

“The idea is to enable people at a principle level — chief executives, ministers, leaders — to have substantive conversations to find solutions to global problems and help mitigate the big issues the world faces. This is not just a talking shop,” he said.

Some 500 senior leaders will attend the gathering, of which about 200 will come from Chinese institutions. “There will be a big Chinese involvement, but this is because of how important China is in the global economy. This really is a one-of-a-kind gathering,” Smith said.

The opening keynote will be delivered by a senior member of the leadership of the Peoples Republic, whose identity has not been officially disclosed amid tight security at the conference venue outside Beijing city center.

While the issue of trade wars between China and the US will be a big issue at the gathering, Smith said that it was not the most important one. “This is not a US-China gathering — it is a global gathering located in Beijing,” he said.

Americans attending the event include former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, as well as Hank Paulson, who was Treasury secretary during the global financial crisis, and Janet Yellen, former chair of the US Federal Reserve.

There is a significant delegation from the Middle East, including Saudi business leader Lubna Olayan, as well as executives and policy-makers from other Arabian Gulf countries.

“The Middle East’s role in the new economy is critical. It has increasingly deep ties with China, but also has strong links with Europe and the West. They are in between western capitalism and state capitalism,” Smith said.